ASU men's hockey goes scoreless in first match against Princeton

The Sun Devils lost 4-0 to Princeton for their third shutout of the year

ASU men’s hockey (3-9-3) was shutout for the third time this year as the Sun Devils lost 4-0 in their first game against Princeton (6-6-1).

It is also the second time the Sun Devils have been shut out in the game following a bye week, with the last game being the team’s 7-0 loss to Penn State. 

“Bye weeks are tough,” head coach Greg Powers said. “When you take two weeks off, it’s not something we want to do, but you’re allotted 34 games and sometimes it’s a necessary evil … They’ve got to figure out a way to ramp up and be ready to play, and tonight it just took us a while to get going.”

The Tigers broke the Sun Devils down in the first period and had the majority of all the offensive pressure. Princeton senior left wing Eric Robinson capitalized on that by scoring with an assist from junior centerman Alex Riche with 8:13 remaining in the first period. 

“They played three games; they traveled all the way out west,” Powers said. “They should be tired, we should be fresh, but our guys were flat to start the game.”

The Sun Devils then took a penalty, which gave Princeton an opportunity on the power play. Senior right wing David Hallisey got his fifth power play goal of the year and Princeton’s second goal of the game. Junior right wing Max Véronneau and junior defenseman Josh Teves earned assists on the play. 

Hallisey is now sixth overall in the league in power play goals, and Princeton currently has a 25 percent success rate on the power play.

“We have guys making mistakes, costly mistakes, that can’t make them in games like this,” Powers said. “Again, when you have a team full of freshmen and sophomores, it’s got to get to a point with all the ice time and experience that these kids are getting where they stop making those (mistakes) and they start playing like experienced guys.”

Princeton outshot ASU 15-7 in the first period, and the Tigers scored their third goal in the first minute of the second period.

“They came out flying," junior centerman Jake Clifford said. "They’ve got a couple guys that can skate so we’ve just got to match that."

Princeton’s Riche scored with assists from junior left wing Ryan Kuffner and freshman defenseman Matthew Thom

“You get in a routine when you’re always playing every weekend and just having an off week sets you back a little bit,” Clifford said. “But that’s no excuse to not be able to show up and play on a Friday night.”

ASU’s play improved as the game progressed, but it did not translate into any goals. The team had chances but did not break the scoring barrier as the game moved into the third period. 

“We’re trying to make the perfect, pretty play and we do not have the skill to do that,” Powers said. “It’s that simple. We have to get ugly goals and throw pucks at goalies- at their feet, off their pads. Tonight, we weren’t committed to that.”

The game stagnated, but with less than a minute remaining, Kuffner scored Princeton's fourth goal of the game off an assist from Veronneau.

In total, the Sun Devils were outshot 36-20, which is below their current average of 25.5 shots per game. 

“It’s just all focus. We all know what we need to do,” Clifford said. “We’re all old enough and it’s just preparation. It starts now- it can’t wait until tomorrow morning; it’s got to be now. We’ve got to get focused and regroup.”

ASU will face Princeton in its second and final game of the series on Saturday, Dec. 9 at 7:05 p.m.

Reach the reporter at or follow @paige_burnell on Twitter.   

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