ASU and Grand Canyon University women's hockey squared off for the first time ever at Oceanside Arena on Friday evening. The game ended in a 1-1 overtime draw between the Antelopes and the Sun Devils.
In the first period, there was no scoring from either team. However, in the second period, ASU senior captain and forward Amber Galles broke loose for a breakaway and did not miss her opportunity.
Galles buried a goal that slipped just under the glove of the goaltender, and rolled past the goal line for ASU’s first goal of the season.
“After our goal tonight, the momentum obviously picked up,” ASU head coach Lindsey Ellis said. “I think we need to come out with that at the beginning and play a whole 60 minutes of hockey.”
GCU outshot ASU 35-20 in a game that was filled with penalty minutes. After the second period, GCU was outshooting ASU 25-10.
Despite the high volume of shots on goal, ASU sophomore goaltender Jordan Nash-Boulden was able to fend off many of them with ease.
“They really kept a lot of those grade-A chances out of there,” Nash-Boulden said of her teammates keeping traffic out of her way. “Shots from the point are easy for me to see. If you can see it, you can stop it.”
Nash-Boulden made 34 saves on 35 shots. Despite her stellar performance, the sophomore still wished she could have one shot back.
“I want the one back,” Nash-Boulden said. “I feel like I had a really good game just seeing shots well, and that is something that is really important.”
GCU and ASU combined for 32 penalty minutes, and the Sun Devils spent 20 minutes in the box while GCU was in the sin bin for 12 minutes. Throughout the game, ASU was stellar on the penalty kill.
However, the penalties would come back to haunt the Sun Devils at the 6:45 mark of the third period when GCU freshman forward Emily Exner would find the back of the net on a rebound attempt on the power play.
The goal tied the game and it also had a little extra significance for GCU women’s hockey.
“I think Exner with the first goal ever of our program is really exciting,” GCU head coach Natalie Rossi said.
The goal was the first in GCU women’s hockey history, and it could not have come at a better time for the Antelopes.
As for the penalty minutes, both coaches would like to limit their penalties, but they were pleased with how their penalty kill units performed.
“I am very happy with the PK (penalty kill),” Ellis said. “Their hockey sense on those PK’s really helped us out.”
A large contingent of GCU fans made the short trip from Camelback Road to Oceanside Arena. Throughout the game, there were both A-S-U and G-C-U chants ringing throughout the arena.
“It was really awesome,” Nash-Boulden said. “I don’t think we have ever had quite as active of a crowd section against us. That was kind of fun to hear it go back and forth and get a lot of students involved.”
The two schools will face off once again on Sept. 23 at 6:30 p.m. at Oceanside Arena.