ASU men's hockey lengthens losing streak with 5-1 loss to Nebraska-Omaha

The Sun Devils remain winless on the road after losing in first game against Nebraska-Omaha

ASU men’s hockey (1-4-0) extended its losing streak to four games after a 5-1 defeat to the Nebraska Omaha Mavericks (2-1-0) in the first game of the series.  

The Sun Devils have yet to win on the road and tonight, simple mistakes were to blame for the loss.

“It’s frustrating,” head coach Greg Powers said. “When you play really well in stretches and you make dumb mistakes that can’t be made against a really good team like that. Almost every big mistake we made they scored on. Literally, we gift-wrapped them five goals off of just dumb turnovers and missed clears on a kill.”

Omaha’s first goal came from senior centerman Luke Nogard with an assist by junior right wing Ryan Galt with 11:22 remaining in the 1st period. 

“I think our biggest issue was the giveaways,” freshman right wing Dominic Garcia said. “The score doesn’t show what type of team we are. I feel like we’re right there and that’s what’s most frustrating because we’re just giving games away.”

The rest of the first period was very back and forth, and it was not until the second period when the game turned in favor of Omaha. 

A miscommunication between the defense and ASU junior goaltender Ryland Pashovitz resulted in an open-net goal for Omaha senior centerman Tyler Vesel

“It’s our own mistakes,” junior defenseman Jakob Stridsberg said. "We gave them a couple goals we shouldn’t have given them and at the end of the day, we’ve got to minimize those mistakes and move on.”

Then, the Sun Devils had another major defensive breakdown in the second that led to a 2-on-1 opportunity for Omaha junior left wing Mason Morelli, who scored with an assist from junior right wing Steven Spinner with 6:58 remaining in the second.

“We get out there and we want to make the prettiest passing play and that’s not necessarily our identity,” Garcia said.  “Our identity is big. We’re physical, we're fast, but it’s just simplifying our game that’s going to pay dividends in the end here moving forward.”

The Sun Devils came into the third period down 3-0, but Stridsberg ended the shutout with a power play goal with assists from sophomore centerman Brett Gruber and freshman defenseman Jacob Wilson with 15:41 remaining. 

This power play unit of Stridsberg, Gruber, Wilson, junior centerman Anthony Croston and redshirt junior left wing Dylan Hollman was new. 

Additionally, all the lines, sans the captains line, with Hollman, Croston, and redshirt junior right wing Louie Rowe were different as well.

“I think in stretches I thought the Gruber line was really good,” Powers said. “They gave us energy. Dom was really good — he played hard and gave us energy. Fil did some good things. I liked Gruber down the middle.”

However, this quick surge of momentum did not last long as Omaha answered with a goal by sophomore left wing Tristan Keck with 9:41 remaining in the 3rd.

Croston then took a penalty for hooking with 6:24 left the third and Omaha got its first power play goal of the night from sophomore right wing Zach Jordan, assisted by Spinner. 

“Everyone wants to win badly,” Garcia said. “You can feel it, you can sense it when we’re losing. It’s just those little things and that’s what makes it harder to take, is that we can play with this team, we can play with Air Force, we can play with all the teams we’ve faced and all the ones we’re going to.”


The Sun Devils were outshot by Omaha 30-27 and narrowly lost the face-off battle with 35 wins compared to Omaha’s 28.

ASU will play Omaha again tomorrow in the final game of the series at 6:07 p.m and look to get its first victory on the road. 

“They need to be just desperate and hungry,” Powers said. “They have no choice — they better be desperate and hungry.”


Reach the reporter at pburnell@asu.edu or follow @paige_burnell on Twitter.   

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