A win does not always leave a positive taste in a team’s mouth.
No. 1 ASU hockey improved to 13-0-0 with a 5-2 win over Division II NAU (6-5). But coach Greg Powers said he was not pleased with the effort of his team.
“Unfortunately, 90 percent of our team did not want to be here tonight,” Powers said.
Included in the 10 percent that Powers said played hard was the front line of seniors Kale Dolinski and Danny McAuliffe and junior Liam Norris. The trio registered nine of the 14 goals and assists Saturday.
“They’re the best line in the country,” Powers said.
Despite a goal and three assists, Dolinski said when the team struggles as a whole, it’s not a good night.
“It was a terrible night,” he said. “If we don’t all play well collective as team, it’s kind of a … poor win.”
Early on, it looked like it could have the makings of a surprisingly close game. NAU lost to UA on Friday night, but only by a 3-2 score, and was only outshot 35-33. The Ice Jacks carried that into Saturday’s game, trading shots early until ASU broke through.
Senior forward Dolinski put the Sun Devils on the board first, scoring on a three-on-two break assisted by junior forward Norris.
After a first period in which ASU outshot NAU 15-5, The Sun Devils only led 1-0. That was enough to let the Ice Jacks hang around in the game.
NAU junior forward Connor Sperry took a rebound clearing attempt from ASU freshman goalie Lucas Felbel, gathered himself and fired the puck past Felbel to tie the game 25 seconds into the second period.
NAU’s bench was fired up, and the Ice Jacks were in the game. Sperry’s goal was what ASU needed to wake up and put the game away.
ASU outscored the Ice Jacks 4-1 the rest of the way. It was the front line that lifted ASU to victory: Norris had three assists and McAuliffe had two goals on the front line. Senior forward Brian McGinty had two power-play goals when he was on the ice with that line. Both goals were assisted by Dolinski.
Felbel made his first career start for ASU, finishing with 19 saves.
“Lucas (Felbel) played well,” Powers said. “He battles hard and he has a good future here.”
ASU has now outscored their three division II opponents by a 38-4 margin. All three games were in Tempe.
ASU’s next game is Thursday against Colorado State at 8:00 p.m. at Oceanside Ice Arena in Tempe.
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