In a lot of ways, Saturday’s game between No. 1 ASU hockey and No. 3 Liberty was a mirror image of Friday night’s.
In the end, the outcome was the same, even with a slightly different score. ASU completed the two-game series and three-game season sweep over the Flames (23-6-1), capping it with a 6-2 win Saturday.
“Two convincing wins against No. 3 in the country in front of 3,000 fans each night, nothing to complain about,” ASU coach Greg Powers said.
The Sun Devils (28-1-0) started the scoring both nights, putting up multiple goals before the seats were warm. Freshman forward Michael Cummings got the first one across less than three minutes into the game, and less than five minutes later, freshman forward Ryan Ostertag put home another.
Senior forward Brian McGinty added a third before the period was over, and just like Friday it seemed like ASU would pull away before the Flames fought back.
Liberty put one past ASU freshman forward Robert Levin on the power play in second period. A mass of bodies and sticks made a wall near the net and Liberty stick redirected the puck and in for the first goal for the home team.
And just like Friday, Saturday’s comeback attempt by Liberty was squelched less than a minute after it began.
This time it was senior captain Colin Hekle who caught a saucer pass from the opposite board by freshman forward Sean Murphy and one-timed into the net. For the second night in a row, an ASU goal less than a minute after the first Liberty goal deflated a lively crowd at LeHaye Ice Center.
Liberty added a second goal later in the frame, only to have the Sun Devils right back while on the power play. ASU finished with three power-play goals and led 5-2 after two periods.
Powers said being able to score on the power play calmed down Liberty’s aggressive style for fear of being a man short.
“When you pop power plays, when you’re potent on the power play, they’re afraid to get too dirty because they don’t want to put you on the power play,” Powers said.
ASU senior forward Danny McAuliffe added one of his own, his second of the series, in the third period to bring the game to its 6-2 final score.
ASU’s next games are its last of the regular season. They take place at Oceanside Ice Arena against No. 15 UA Friday and Saturday.
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