The No. 9 Lindenwood Lions were coming in hot. To make it to the ACHA semifinal matchup, they had just beaten the top-seeded Adrian.
The Lions beat the No. 2 ASU hockey team 6-4 Tuesday, ending the Sun Devils’ season.
ASU fell behind early but tied the game heading into the third. The third period featured two Lions goals and none from the Sun Devils.
ASU, the No. 2 team in the ACHA, finishes with a final record of 34-8-1. Unfortunately for the Sun Devils, they needed to be 36-7-1 to bring the national championship to Tempe.
Senior forward Grant Gorczyca started the scoring for the Lions in the first period, and he put the puck between ASU junior goaltender Joseph D’Elia’s legs to start the third period scoring. That goal proved to be the game winner.
With 12:14 in the third period, Lindenwood freshman forward Stephen Bopp used incredible puck handling to beat Norris on a one-on-one breakaway. Bopp beat D’Elia to give the Lions the 6-4 lead that put Lindenwood in the finals.
Freshman forward Kyle Bowen started the scoring in the game back in the first period, giving ASU an early lead within the first three minutes. It wouldn’t last long.
After being swarmed by ASU in the early goings, Lindenwood was able to turn the game around in a big way. With 11:37 left, Gorczyca tied the game. His team then ran away with the rest of the period.
The Lions scored three more goals in the final five minutes of the period, goals including two within 19 seconds of each other. Sophomore defenseman Nick Carey added a power play goal with 51 seconds remaining.
After the first period, the Lions led 4-1. Those four goals were scored on only 11 shots. It was also the first time since Feb. 1 that D’Elia allowed more than two goals in a game.
The Sun Devils came alive in the second period. Junior forward Kale Dolinski scored two goals to bring ASU within one. Sophomore forward Liam Norris assisted him both times.
Dolinski’s goals were within 34 seconds of each other. They were his fifth and sixth points of the tournament, leading the team in the postseason.
With 4:30 left in the second period, freshman forward Stephen Collins joined Dolinski in the scoring. Collins weaved in and out of Lindenwood defenders and beat Lindenwood sophomore goaltender Linus Ahgren to tie the game.
The game went into the third tied, 4-4. From there, the Lions took control to win the game.
Lindenwood will play No. 3 Minot State in the national championship game Wednesday night.
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