ASU Hockey: 11 Goals Propel Devils to Win Over Penmen

After tying Ohio State, then winning in a shootout this past Saturday, ASU hockey came back home to Oceanside Ice Area, where they came storming out of the gates early to blow out the Southern New Hampshire Penmen by a score of 11-0 and pick up the Sun Devils’ 8th win of the season.

With the third lines starting out the game, the scoring started earlier than anyone could have predicted, with Anthony Croston slapping in an unassisted goal though the legs of the Penmen goaltender, after just 51 seconds of play in the first period. Fast forward 36 seconds and the Devils have a 2-0 lead on Louie Rowe’s 6th goal of the season, assisted by Liam McGing and Wade Murphy.

The scoring frenzy that hurt the thumbs of every reporter in Oceanside didn’t stop there, however, as Joe Lappin tucked away the 3rd Arizona State goal of the game, less than 130 seconds after puck drop. Liam McGing picked up his second assist of the game on the goal and Wade Murphy recorded his first, exciting the standing room only crowd and pumping up the Inferno student section, led by the 942 Crew.

After allowing 3 goals in just over two minutes, SNHU Junior goalie Ryan Slatky was pulled from in front of the net in favor of Freshman Kurt Gutting. The following eight minutes went scoreless, leading many to believe that the Sun Devils had finally settled down. That was not the case though, as Brett Gruber accepted a pass from Tyler Busch and found an empty spot in the net, extending the ASU lead to 4-0. The Gruber goal kickstarted the offensive momentum once again for the Devils, who scored three more times in following four and a half minutes.

The first of those three goals was the result of a Jake Clifford pass to Drew Newmeyer, who took a shot on goal, a shot that was deflected in by Anthony Croston to up the score to 5-0. Following Croston’s second goal of the game, Freshman Tyler Busch notched his seventh goal of the season, a wrist shot as he fell down, with assists coming from Jakob Stridsberg and Brett Gruber, Gruber’s second of the game.

Just over a minute after Busch found an opening in the net, Anthony Croston made it a night to remember, scoring his third goal not only of the game, but of the period, giving him a hat trick with 5:39 to go in the first period.

With a commanding 7-0 lead heading into the final quarter of the period, ASU was one goal away from from tying their season-high for goals in a game of eight, a mark they set back on December 30th in the Desert Hockey Classic against Brown. The record was soon tied, as with just under three minutes to play in the first period, Jakob Stridsberg scored his 7th goal of the season on Steenn Pasichnuk’s 3rd assist though 27 games.

Just 21 seconds after the record-tying goal, Riley Simpson was sent to the penalty box for slashing, but the Devils were able to kill the penalty, something they had struggled with all season. Through the end of one period, ASU not only lead SNHU 8-0, but they had outshot them as well 26-8 and had the advantage in faceoffs, 22-9.

At the end of the period, Blaze Sports’ Josh Schaefer noted that the eight Sun Devils goals in the first period was more than the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes had scored in their last four games.

Despite being pulled after just two minutes and four seconds in the first period, Junior Ryan Slatky re-entered the game at the start of the second period, given that his first period replacement, Kurt Gutting, allowed five goals.

The second period started out rather uneventfully, minus a penalty called on Arizona State. At 4:57 in the second, Jake Clifford served two minutes as the result of the Devils having too many players on the ice. Less than a minute after Clifford escaped the sin bin, Louie Rowe became the third Sun Devil of the evening to score his 7th goal of the season, as he received assists from Wade Murphy and Jake Clifford to give ASU their 9th goal of the game. With more than half the game to go, Murphy’s goal made the evening the team’s highest-scoring affair of the year.

The last time the Arizona State Sun Devils scored nine goals in a game was back in 2015, against the same Southern New Hampshire Penmen. In that series against SNHU, ASU outscored them 16-3. Having already scored 9 games and tied a program record, nothing could slow the Devils against the Penmen in 2017’s series opener, as a new record was set just minutes later.

The Sun Devils reached double-digits for the first time in NCAA program history thanks to captain Dylan Hollman, who with just over 30 minutes to go in the game, scored his fourth goal of the season. On the goal, Riley Simpson recorded his second assist of the game, which doubled his season total and Liam McGing was awarded his third of the game, giving him five on the season.

After hitting the double-digit mark, ASU continued their record-breaking game, adding an 11th goal to the score, thanks to Ryan Belonger, a goal that was his first goal of the season.

Anthony Croston collected his fourth point of the game thanks to an assist and Dylan Hollman became the 11th player on the Devils to be credited with an assist, as he picked up his first of the game.

Once the Devils had their 11-0 lead, the game quickly began to slow down and play turned sloppy. SNHU’s Brian O’Callaghan was called for high sticking shortly after the Belonger goal, which was the maximum excitement for the rest of the period, as ASU was not able to take advantage of their advantage on the ice.

Southern New Hampshire started off the third period with their 3rd goalie of the game, as Junior Matthew MacInnis entered the crease in a mop-up role after Ryan Slatky allowed three more goals in the second period for a total of six on the night.

Ryan Belonger and Jake Montgomery were called for cross-checking mere minutes apart with less than half of the third period to go, at which point ASU hadn’t scored in over 20 minutes. Montgomery’s trip to the penalty box was soon coupled with a Penmen penalty, as Jared Goudreau took his turn in the box for slashing, giving fans just over 90 seconds of 4-on-4 hockey. With less than a minute to go, SNHU’s Alec Cochran was also called for slashing, putting the Devils on the power play for the remainder of the game. While they had three power play opportunities on the evening, ASU was unable to capitalize, going 0-3 on the night.

As the final horn sounded, ASU was the clear winner, dominating literally every aspect of the game. Aside from the 11-0 score, they outshot SNHU 60-19 and won 42 of the 70 faceoffs in the game.

While the game seemed to be all positive, there was one side effect from the blowout victory. With just a few minutes left in the game, leading scorer and graduate transfer Robbie Baillargeon was checked into the boards, falling to the ice for a short period of time. Baillargeon was slow to get up and immediately clutched his shoulder, calling for a trainer as soon as he reached the bench, dropping his stick on his way out.

While he has not scored in his last six games, he does lead the team in goals and assists. Losing their top player could hinder the Sun Devils going forward, but with the likes of Busch, Murphy and Gruber stepping up as of late, Arizona State should still be in good hands in the event they lose their most veteran player.

Three Stars of the Game:

  1. Anthony Croston (Sophomore Foward, #18) 3 Goals, 1 Assist
  2. Robert Levin (Senior Goalie, #38) 19 Shots Saved, 0 Goals Allowed
  3. Liam McGing (Sophomore Defenseman, #24) 3 Assists off the Bench

Notes and Numbers

  • Prior to the January 20th contest, Anthony Croston had scored three goals in the teams’ first 26 games. Croston doubled his season total in the first 14 minutes and 21 seconds of the game.
  • The 11 goals scored by the Arizona State Sun Devils in their Friday evening game is the same number of goals that the Arizona Coyotes have scored in their previous five games.
  • Liam McGing led ASU with 3 assists, but he was not the only Sun Devil with a multi-assist game. Wade Murphy, Brett Gruber, Jake Clifford and Riley Simpson each recorded 2 assists.
  • The 60 shots taken by ASU is a season-best. The next most shots the Sun Devils had taken in a game was 36, on January 13th at Ohio State. The
  • In addition, 19 shots allowed is the fewest Arizona State has allowed this season. Previous to this game, the fewest shots ASU had allowed was 22, on December 13th at American International.
  • Eight different Devils scored a goal in this game. The last time more than five players scored a goal was December 30th against Brown, which was also the only other time this season that more than one player has had a 2-goal game.
  • In the 27 games Arizona State has played this season, the Sun Devils have killed every opposition power play in only eight of those contests, including four successful kills of the SNHU power play in the series opener.
  • This was Robert Levin’s first NCAA shutout and his fourth win of the season, moving his season record to 4-4-2. ASU’s other two goalies have a combined 4-13-0 record. Levin has saved 41 of the last 43 shots taken on him for a save percentage of 95.34%.
  • Arizona State Hockey is now 6-6-1 when they score first. To provide comparison, they are 2-11-1 when their opponent scores first.

Moving Forward

Arizona State is back at home tomorrow, on January 21st, where they will look to complete their second sweep of the season, once again playing the Southern New Hampshire Penmen at Oceanside Ice Arena in Tempe. Puck drop is at 7:05 and you can follow @BadderUpSports on Twitter for live updates all game long. For those considering attending the game, the 942 Crew will be giving out ASU Hockey long sleeve shirts as a part of White Out Weekend.