ASU women's hockey is 0-3 in WWCHL showcase tournament

The ASU women's hockey team lost the first three games of its trip to Boulder

Game 1: University of Minnesota

On Friday night, the ASU women’s hockey team faced off with the No. 7 team in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) in its first game of the Western Women’s Collegiate Hockey League (WWCHL) showcase tournament in Boulder, Colorado.  

ASU fell to Minnesota 6-1 in its first game. 

In the first period, the Golden Gophers jumped out to an early 2-0 lead.

However, ASU would respond on the power play when senior forward Dannika Borges was able to find the back of the net. The goal was assisted by sophomore forward Alyssa Ayers and senior defenseman KC McGinley.

"For having such a small roster compared to them (the other teams), we are trying our best to take these short shifts, and it's helping a lot," Borges said.

Minnesota would go on to tally one more goal in the second period, and three goals in the third to put the game away. 

While the Sun Devils suffered a loss, ASU head coach Lindsey Ellis was pleased with the effort that her team put forth against a tough Minnesota team.

“All four of our captains played their hearts out,” Ellis said. “With leadership, that kind of rubbed off onto the rest of the team for everyone else to work just as hard as they are, and want that win just as bad as they do.”

Game 2: Lindenwood-Belleville

ASU’s second game of the tournament was a 9 a.m. puck drop with the Lindenwood-Belleville Lynx. The Sun Devils would end up falling to the Lynx 6-1 to start the tournament going 0-2.

In the first period, Lindenwood-Belleville struck quick and often as they put up three goals in the opening frame with two goals from senior forward Reagan Fuller and one from senior forward Maddy Millar. 

ASU responded late in the first period with a goal from McGinley. The goal was assisted by Borges to give the senior captains two points in two games of the tournament. 

“Our captains have stood out this whole entire weekend so far,” Ellis said after the loss.

Lindenwood-Belleville is currently the No. 4 team in the ACHA standings after last week’s rankings, and they have a deep roster that can be tough to compete with over the course of 60 minutes.

After the loss to Lindenwood-Belleville, one of the points of emphasis throughout the rest of the weekend was cohesion in the defensive zone.

“Moving forward, our forwards and defense kind of have to come together as one unit and work together rather than two separate units” Ellis said. “I think we learned that throughout the game with a quick team like that.”

Despite the loss, the Sun Devils picked up some valuable play time against one of the best teams in the ACHA, and that will look to provide dividends moving forward.

“Playing against Lindenwood was a huge learning experience for us as a team,” Ellis said.  “Going into it, we knew they were a good team, but we just had to adapt to their style of play and adapt to their speed, which we aren’t used to when we play the other teams.”

Game 3: Midland University

ASU concluded its third game less than 24 hours later by taking on Midland University on Saturday night. As of last week, Midland was the No. 14 team in the ACHA standings. 

ASU lost to Midland 2-1 in a tightly contested matchup that saw all of the scoring in the first period.

In the opening frame, ASU sophomore forward Alyssa Ayers picked up her first college hockey goal on a play in front of the net that was assisted by junior forward Taylor England and senior forward Amber Galles.

"We haven't gotten any wins yet, but we are still having fun," Ayers said. "The team bonding is definitely happening."

The goal gave ASU an early 1-0 lead, however, Midland responded when freshman forward Robin Hatcher found the back of the net. Junior defenseman Isabelle Uhl-Chmiel followed that with a goal of her own.

ASU will conclude the WWCHL showcase tournament by taking on Grand Canyon University Sunday morning at 9 a.m. before returning home to Tempe.

"It's been a long weekend, but to be able to play GCU ... that's a team they (ASU) always want to beat," Ellis said. "We will be fired up tomorrow morning, and hopefully be able to finish the weekend on a positive note."

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