ASU men's hockey comeback falls short, No. 19 Air Force wins 4-3

The Sun Devils scored two third-period goals, but it was not enough to overcome a large deficit

ASU men's hockey went on the road but lost 4-3 Friday night to the No. 19 Air Force Falcons in Colorado Springs. The Sun Devils dropped to 1-2 in 2017 and have now lost two straight. 

"Obviously the positives are how we came on in the third and put the heat on and had them on their heels," ASU head coach Greg Powers said. "I'm proud of how they finished." 

The Sun Devils scored two third-period goals, cutting the Falcon lead to 4-3. 

The first goal came on the power play at 9:11, as freshman defenseman Jacob Wilson scored his first-ever collegiate goal. The second goal was scored at 14:28 as sophomore forward Tyler Busch scored his first goal of the 2017-18 season. 

"They played desperate and angry, and we have to do that through three games for 60 minutes, and they have to do it tomorrow," Powers said. "They have to figure out a way to play three periods like they did the last one and if they do, they're going to love the result." 

However, ASU's comeback effort fell short as the team was held off the scoreboard for the remaining 6:32 of the third period. For the Falcons, it was a close victory in the home opener. 

Earlier In the Game

The Falcons got it started early. Just 2:18 into the first period, Air Force's senior forward Ben Kucera scored a powerplay goal, giving the Falcons an early 1-0 lead. 

Later in the first period, Air Force would find the scoreboard again as junior forward Kyle Haak scored an unassisted goal at 15:28. The Falcons led 2-0. 

Before the period was over, the Sun Devils responded when junior forward Anthony Croston scored his second goal of the season. The captain, redshirt junior forward Dylan Hollman, provided the lone assist on the Sun Devil tally. After period one, the Falcons led the Devils 2-1. 

Air Force jumped up 3-1 when senior forward Erik Baskin scored at 9:23 of the second period. The game-winner would find the back of the net at 18:23, as senior defensemen Dylan Abood scored to make the game 4-1. 

In the win, Air Force junior goaltender Billy Christopoulos made 30 saves. In the loss, ASU sophomore goaltender Joey Daccord made 38 saves. 

"If we played 60 minutes like we did in the third, we love our chances," Powers said. "That's a really good hockey team over there, and they're going to be tough to beat on home ice, but if we play like we did in the third, we can beat them."

What's Next

ASU and No. 19 Air Force go at it again tomorrow night in Colorado Springs as the Sun Devils look to avoid a sweep. Last season, the Sun Devils dropped the first game of a two-game series to Air Force 4-3, but won the second game 5-2, splitting the series at Gila River Arena in Glendale. 

Saturday's puck drop is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. 


Reach the reporter at michael.baron@asu.edu or follow @Michael_Baron96 on Twitter.

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