On Friday night, ASU and Grand Canyon University women’s hockey tied 1-1 after playing 65 minutes of hockey. However, on Saturday night, the story was very different.
Special teams were a key to success for the Sun Devils. ASU was 7-7 on the penalty kill and they netted two power play goals.
“It was really impressive for all of our special teams to perform that way,” ASU head coach Lindsey Ellis said. “We have been practicing special teams quite a bit in practice so to be able to execute what we have been working on in practice really helped us out, especially at the beginning of the season.”
After Friday night’s draw between the two schools, Ellis discussed how her team needed to limit their penalties.
On Saturday, ASU spent 14 minutes in the penalty box, but they still found a way to get the job done while they were shorthanded.
“I feel like we are always pretty confident on the PK (penalty kill),” ASU senior captain KC McGinley said. “We love the PK and we love our power play.”
ASU scored two out of their four goals on the power play, with one coming from McGinley and one coming from senior forward Dannika Borges.
McGinley’s goal in the first period came off of a top-shelf slap shot from the point. The goal came eight seconds into the power play, and it was one of McGinley’s two goals in the game.
“I just tried to get it somewhere close and let the forwards do what they needed to do,” McGinley said of her slap shot. “It ended up working out.”
GCU outshot ASU 40-33, but the amount of shots was not an issue once again for ASU sophomore goaltender Jordan Nash-Boulden.
Nash-Boulden made 34 saves on 35 shots in Friday night’s tie, and she followed that performance up with another solid performance by making 39 saves on 40 shots.
“She was incredible, especially in the second period when we were getting tired. She held us in that game,” Ellis said. “Unfortunately, we had one little goal go in, but she played incredible all weekend.”
GCU forward Jenna Kimbrel scored the lone goal for GCU with just 1:52 remaining in the third period to eliminate Nash-Boulden’s shutout bid.
As for other goal scorers, senior captain and forward Amber Galles began the scoring in the first period when she netted a rebound attempt to make the score 1-0. The goal was Galles' second in two games.
Junior forward and newly assigned defenseman Taylor England had two assists while freshman forward Aubrey Beskid had two assists as well. Freshman forward Catherine Jones and and sophomore forward Megan Mroczek also picked up points with assists of their own.
“It was great,” Beskid said. “I just try and do everything that I can to help out the team, and do what I can here and there, and assists are good things to have.”
While the inaugural series between the two cross-town schools ended with an ASU victory, the Antelopes will definitely have their chance for redemption as they take on the Sun Devils three more times throughout the season.
“When people tell me that this isn’t a hockey state, I kind of call them crazy,” Ellis said. “I’m a little biased, I have grown up here and played here my whole life, and I’ve been very involved with hockey ever since I was little.
"I think now that every team in Arizona is performing at every level from youth all the way up to collegiate … I think the performance level has increased so much that now we are starting to get on the map as a hockey state.”
Up next, ASU will have to wait until Oct. 6 to take on the University of Colorado-Boulder at 10:10 p.m. at Oceanside Arena.