Assiniboine upends ASU women's hockey 4-1

The ASU women's hockey team fell to the Assiniboine Cougars 4-1 on Friday night at Oceanside Ice Arena

For the first time in program history, the ASU women’s hockey team faced a Canadian team, going against Assiniboine Community College on Friday night at Oceanside Ice Arena, falling to the Cougars 4-1.

The Cougars beat the Sun Devils in a late-night affair in Tempe that saw four unanswered goals from Assiniboine after ASU took a 1-0 lead.

“Overall, there are certain parts (of the game) that we played really well, and then there were certain parts that we obviously need improvement,” ASU head coach Lindsey Ellis said. “That’s why the score was 4-1 … we beat ourselves in this game and we didn’t play as hard as we could have.”

The Cougars are a Division II member in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA), and they trekked over 1,700 miles from Brandon, Manitoba to Tempe to play in this weekend’s three-game series with the Sun Devils.

After a scoreless first period, ASU drew first blood when sophomore forward Megan Mroczek buried a puck in front of the Assiniboine net to give the Sun Devils a 1-0 lead.

The goal was Mroczek’s second goal of the season, and it was assisted by senior forward Dannika Borges, who tallied her ninth point on the year. 

Prior to Friday night, ASU had not played a game since the beginning of December. Following an opening frame with a plethora of Assiniboine scoring chances, ASU rallied during the first intermission of a scoreless hockey game.

“We had some captains talking. We try to light the fire under our team. We like to lead and one of many ways to lead is by example,” Borges said. “All of us captains are giving it our all, so when it comes to intermission and we are not seeing it from the rest of our team, we got to talk and we have to figure out what’s going on.”

While ASU scored first, the Cougars did not stay down for long. Just over a minute after ASU’s goal, Assiniboine struck with a goal from forward Rachel Charles.

The goal knotted the game at one, and it was the first tally in a hat trick performance from Charles, who added two more goals late in the third period to ice the game away. 

“We know we can’t get ahead of ourselves with one win in the bag,” Charles said of her team’s performance. “We just have to keep confident and play like we can.”

Among other notable Cougars, forwards Karli Frederick and Blair Bodie tallied assists, and  defenseman Haylee Anderson also notched a point with an assist.

Throughout the game, Assiniboine pelted ASU sophomore goaltender Jordan Nash-Boulden with pucks andNash-Boulden made 43 saves on 47 shots. Two of Assiniboine’s four goals came during the last minute of play in the third period, including a goal that was counted as the third period horn expired.

“It’s the team as a whole. We can’t put it on one person,” Borges said. “... Jordan (Nash-Boulden) played absolutely phenomenal as usual. She is going to come back and give it even more these next two games because, well, that’s how Jordan (Nash-Boulden) is.”

Overall, ASU had bright spots against an Assiniboine team that is currently 9-5 in Division II of the ACHA. 

Up next, the Sun Devils will be back to action Saturday afternoon when they host the Cougars for game two of the three-game series.

“We need to be able to come back tomorrow with a positive mindset,” Ellis said. “We can’t hang our heads about this. We still have two more games to play and we are use to having quick turnarounds and a short roster."

Puck drop is set for 2 p.m. MST at Oceanside Ice Arena.

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