ASU women's hockey sweeps GCU with 3-1 victory

The ASU women's hockey team swept its cross-town rival on Saturday night in Peoria

The ASU women’s hockey team defeated Grand Canyon University 3-1 on Saturday night at AZ Ice Peoria en route to a series sweep, and the first sweep away from Oceanside Ice Arena in the program’s young history.

In the first period, ASU netted two goals in 11 minutes. After picking up two points in Friday night’s win, ASU freshman forward Catherine Jones picked up right where she left off by burying a loose puck in front of the GCU net to give the Sun Devils a 1-0 lead less than three minutes into the opening frame.

The goal was Jones’ eighth point in 14 games played, and with the tally, the freshman became the ASU active leader in points as a freshman.

“As long as she keeps throwing that puck on net, they are going to keep going in,” ASU head coach Lindsey Ellis said of Jones. “At the beginning of this season, we had to keep telling her it’s alright to shoot the puck … she is definitely alright with shooting the puck now, and obviously it’s working out.”

Less than five minutes later, ASU junior forward Taylor England found the back of the net when she slid a loose puck past the GCU goaltender.

After a flurry of scoring chances in the second period for the Lopes, GCU was able to find the back of the net after five periods of scoreless hockey against ASU sophomore goaltender Jordan Nash-Boulden.

Midway through the third period, GCU freshman forward Sam Baquet sniped a top-shelf, wrist shot from the left circle that cut the ASU lead to 2-1.

Following Baquet’s goal, Ellis took the time to rally the troops.

“It’s time to dig deep,” Ellis said of the message that was given in the huddle. “... In those situations, we just have to dig deep and be able to play as hard as we can.”

With the game on the line, ASU responded just over five minutes later when senior defenseman and captain KC McGinley activated from the defensive zone. McGinley got out in transition, and buried a wrist shot on the glove side to give the Sun Devils a 3-1 lead that would ice the game away.

“They were down and we wanted to stick it to them,” McGinley said. “It’s always nice to get a win on someone else’s rink when all of their fans are here."

In addition to McGinley, Nash-Boulden put on yet another fantastic performance for the Sun Devils. The sophomore netminder only allowed one goal in two games, and she stopped 70 of the 71 shots that were thrown her way over the two-game series.

“She always has our back. She stands on her head,” McGinley said. “She is the MVP every game, I swear. She is just incredible, and she is our staple player. We wouldn’t be where we are at without her.”

After a chippy and heated series with the Lopes, ASU has bragging rights with the cross-town school at least for this season. With Saturday’s victory, the season series is 3-1-1, with the Sun Devils having the upper hand.

ASU will now take a four week break for the holidays, but they will return to action on Friday, Jan. 12 when they host Assiniboine Community College for a three-game series at Oceanside Arena. Puck drop for game one is set for 10:10 p.m. MST.

But for now, ASU will savor its series sweep over GCU.

“It’s so fun to have a hometown rivalry. It’s awesome and it’s so good for us. It gives us a little extra fire and something to prove,” McGinley said. “... After losing to them (in November), we never want that feeling again. We want to show that this is our house and our state.”

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