No. 18 Rutgers club hockey team came into their match up against No. 2 ASU riding high.
It was the final bubble team to make the tournament, and it was to advance after beating No. 16 Navy on Friday.
Then it ran into the Sun Devils.
ASU completely dominated in its first national tournament game, defeating Rutgers 8-2.
Shots were 57-22 in ASU’s favor. Seven different Sun Devils scored a goal. Senior defenseman Brian Parson had two.
It was only a close contest for one period.
At the first intermission the score was 1-0 ASU thanks to a goal by freshman forward Stephen Collins. Once the second period started, the onslaught of Sun Devil goals began.
Seniors forward Dan Styrna, defenseman Ryan Clark and Parson each found the back of the back of the net, as did junior forward Kale Dolinski.
Rutgers was able to score once, but ASU led 5-1 after two periods.
In the third, Parson connected for his second goal. He was joined by freshman forward Kyle Bowen and junior forward Dave Jantzie.
Rutgers added a meaningless goal in garbage time to lead to the 8-2 final.
ASU lost in the opening round the last two years at the national tournament. A complete team effort stopped that from happening again.
The game also marked the returns of junior captain Colin Hekle and freshman defenseman Jordan Young, who each missed significant time.
“We’re a different team with those guys in the lineup,” said coach Greg Powers. “They make us a lot better of a hockey team.”
Dolinski and senior defenseman Darcy Charrois, who each missed time each of the last two weekends, also returned.
Powers said when his team is healthy, they are very tough to beat. For this first time since last semester, he has a fully healthy team. His healthy team completely dominated the No. 18 team in the nation.
ASU’s next game is Sunday against No. 7 Illinois, who beat the defending champions, No. 10 Delaware earlier Saturday.
“They’re going to be coming in gunning for us, ready to go,” Powers said. “Our guys are smelling blood now, and they want to get on a roll, so I think we’ll show up and play a lot better tomorrow.”
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