Coming home after a rough series in Massachusetts, ASU looked to avoid extending their losing streak, but did the exact opposite, as they doubled it to four games, falling to Harvard 7-0 and 6-2 in their two games.
The 2-game series against the Harvard was a series of firsts for both teams.
On Friday, Harvard played their first game of the season after having their start delayed a month due to Ivy League rules. In that game, ASU was shut out for the first time all season, losing 7-0.
Then on Saturday, the Sun Devils returned to their regular home at Oceanside Ice Arena after playing their first three home games of the season at Gila River Arena, home of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes. The second game of the series also featured Sophomore Ryland Pashovitz starting in goal for the first time in the 2016-17 season with Freshman Joey Daccord notably scratched from the game and absent from the bench.
Game 1: Friday, October 28th
The first period of the series opener started out slow, both teams looking sharp on defense for the first 16+ minutes, before the Harvard Crimson took a quick 1-0 lead on a goal from Tyler Moy.
46 seconds after the goal was scored, graduate transfer Robbie Baillargeon was called for slashing and spent 2 of the remaining 2:16 in the penalty box. This penalty proved costly, as Lewis Zerter-Gossage was able to net a goal 45 seconds into the power play and give the Crimson a 2-0 advantage at the end of the first period.
The Crimson were just heating up, scoring three more goals in the second period despite the fact that the Sun Devils stayed out of the penalty box for the entire 20 minutes. While ASU was able to avoid the penalty kill, Harvard was not, as they made two trips to the penalty box.
On the first penalty, an interference call on John Marino, sophomore Ryan Donato snuck a shorthanded goal past goaltender Joey Daccord, the fourth of five goals allowed on the night.
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Arizona State made three more trips to the penalty box in the third period with the first of those penalties, Robbie Baillargeon’s second of the game, leading to another Harvard power play goal. This goal proved that both of Baillargeon’s penalties were costly for the Sun Devils as both led to power play goals for Harvard.
The final goal of the game for the Crimson was their second shorthanded goal of the game, a shot form John Marino that miraculously snuck by goaltender Ryland Pashovitz, who relieved freshman Joey Daccord at the start of the third period. Pashovitz saved 8 of the 10 shots he received in the period for a .800 save percentage, just barely higher than Daccord’s .792, but enough to give him the start in the second game of the series.
Game 2: Saturday, October 29th
Not only was Daccord scratched in the second game, but Ed McGovern, Joe Lappin, Wade Murphy and Joey Raats were scratched too. McGovern, Raats and Murphy all saw time on the ice in the first game and Lappin was a starter on Friday night, taking 5 of ASU’s 23 shots on goal in the evening. For Murphy and Raats, it was their first scratch of the season.
The scratches resulted in multiple new lines for the Sun Devils as head coach Greg Powers looked to change things up and avoid getting shut out for the second night in a row.
Heading into the second game, the Arizona State Sun Devils looked to salvage the series and put forth a stronger effort on the ice and rebound after the loss the night before.
Reminiscent of the night prior, things started off slowly on offense, yet strong on defense for both teams, with the first 10 minutes of the game going scoreless. However, things began to look down for the Sun Devils early on, with two power play goals being scored in the first period and penalties once again proving costly for ASU.
Both teams accumulated 8 penalty minutes in the first period, then decreased that time in the second, with Arizona State being called for only one penalty, an unsportsmanlike conduct call on Tyler Busch with 6:30 to go in the period at the start of a face-off in the Harvard defensive zone.
After a rough first period, play improved substantially for the Sun Devils as they not only spent more time on even strength, but saw fewer shots taken by Harvard, a decrease of 15 to 6 from the first to second period. This decrease was evident, with the Crimson only extending their lead by one, a goal netted by Jake Horton after just over five and a half minutes of play into the second period.
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A huge factor in the success of the Crimson and the downfall for the Sun Devils over the weekend was Harvard goalie Merrick Madsen, a junior, who saved 24 of the 26 shots taken on him during the game.
The fact that he didn’t save every shot though did mean that Arizona State scooted across two goals, both from the stick of Robbie Baillargeon. Those two goals for Baillargeon meant that he had scored the last five goals for this ASU team, dating back to the first game against Northeastern last weekend.
Baillargeon’s first goal of the period was scored at 3:18 in the third period, but quickly countered by Harvard, who brought the difference in score back to three goals just 32 seconds later. After Devin Tringale increased that lead two minutes later, ASU responded 65 seconds after that, which was when Baillargeon netted his second goal of the period, putting an end to a 4-minute section of the period that saw four goals scored.
Baillargeon was not the only player with a 2-goal period, however, as Sean Malone dumped another into the net with less than three minutes to go in the third period, Harvard’s 6th goal of the game and the nail in the coffin for a 6-2 Arizona State loss.
The game did not end without excitement however, as with 30 seconds left, a scrum broke out against the boards in the corner of Harvard defensive ice, a fight that resulted in 15 penalty minutes being assigned to Jake Montgomery, as he was sent to the showers early, and junior David Norris spent the final seconds of the game a spectator from the penalty box, where he served Montgomery’s time.
Harvard out shot Arizona State by a slim margin, 29-26 and were more successful on the power play, converting 2 of 4 opportunities, while Arizona State let all 5 of their advantages slip by.
With seven total players scratched from the ASU roster, the 20 available players saw increased time on the ice, notably freshman Riley Simpson, who played on the fourth line in the game, alongside fellow freshman Jack Rowe and Georgy Gorodetsky.
Arizona State Hockey Wrap-up: Stats and Notes
After being outscored 11-3 in the series in Massachusetts against Northeastern, things did not improve for ASU as Harvard opened up their season, with the Crimson outscoring them 13-2. ASU has now been outscored by their opponents 24-5 over the course of two weeks, and 43-16 so far this season. As October play has concluded for the Arizona State hockey team, Robbie Baillargeon and Tyler Busch have scored 10 of ASU’s 16 goals this season, or 62.5% of the netted shots for the Sun Devils.
The series against the Harvard Crimson made it eight consecutive games for Arizona State against ranked opponents, putting their record at 1-7. With a 1-3 record at home, the Sun Devils will return to the ice on Friday, November 4, as they host Michigan (currently ranked No.11 as of 10/30) and play at Gila River Arena in Glendale one final time this season, their ninth of nine consecutive games to start the season against a ranked opponents. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.