The ASU hockey team finally got its groove back.
After weeks of being plagued by injury, the No. 1 Sun Devils (26-6 ACHA) were finally able to start arguably their strongest line. After forwards sophomore Faiz Khan and senior Dan Styrna were listed as questionable for the weekend, both players joined junior captain Colin Hekle on the ice en route to a 5-3 victory over No. 17 Central Oklahoma (16-13 ACHA) Saturday.
The chemistry between Styrna, Khan and Hekle immediately showed. The game’s first goal came in the first period from Styrna and was assisted by Hekle and Khan.
“It’s a real treat playing with those two,” Styrna said.
Styrna finished with a goal and an assist. Khan recorded a goal and two assists, and Hekle had two goals and an assist.
“I love playing with those guys,” Khan said. “We have a lot of chemistry.”
ASU played a complete game Saturday, something that Powers was looking for from the team. Over the last few weeks, the Sun Devils experienced several lapses, whether it was through a poor defensive game, the offense not showing up or excessive penalties that caused the Sun Devils to falter.
“That was our hockey team right there, ASU coach Greg Powers. “They weren’t going to lose tonight.”
ASU returns to the ice next weekend against Rhode Island with Hekle, Khan and Styrna all playing together.
Central Oklahoma takes Game 1
For the first time all season, ASU has lost on consecutive nights. After losing to No. 5 Oklahoma Thursday night, it was a different school but similar end results Friday against Central Oklahoma. The Broncos took the first game of the weekend series 4-2.
In a thrilling game, ASU kept it close until the closing seconds, even leading at two different points. Senior defenseman Darcy Charrois recorded both goals for the Sun Devils, but the two were not enough as Central Oklahoma’s late goals proved too much to overcome.
The frustration from Powers after the game was apparent.
“We literally in the last seven minutes invented a new way to lose a hockey game,” Powers said.
Within those last seven minutes, forwards freshman Kory Chisolm and junior Brian McGinty made costly penalties that put ASU on the penalty kill when they were trailing late in the game. It created a hole that the Sun Devils were unable to climb out of.
The game was heated, as both sides had their fair share of players spend time in the penalty box. The back and forth chirping from the bench kept things interesting as people in attendance could hear the not-so-friendly conversations going on, and it compounded with a few on-ice fights.
“I don’t want to say pure hatred, but there’s a hatred there,” said junior captain Colin Hekle. “It’s going to happen no matter what when you play an Oklahoma team.”
Hekle explained that the familiarity between the two teams is what is to blame, and Powers hopes that tomorrow those strong feelings can be used as a positive outlet as the two teams match up again.
“I like the emotion, but they have to curve it a channel it and bring it out in a more positive way,” said Powers.
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