ASU men’s hockey dominates second period, defeats UMass-Lowell 4-0

Freshman Johnny Walker scored twice in the first shutout victory of the season

ASU dominated the middle period of play on Saturday as the Sun Devils shut out the University of Massachusetts-Lowell River Hawks 4-0 at Oceanside Ice Arena in Tempe. This is the Sun Devils' first shutout victory of the season and comes just one day after UMass Lowell shut out ASU in the first game of their two-game series. 

ASU head coach Greg Powers called the victory the team's best effort since entering Division I.

"That's a huge win for our program against one of the top programs in the country and we did it in pretty convincing fashion," Powers said. 

ASU sophomore goaltender Joey Daccord was top notch Saturday versus UMass-Lowell. After giving up four goals the previous night to the River Hawks, Daccord made 28 saves in the shutout.

"I wasn't happy with how I played last night, so it was really important for me to bounce back and have a good game tonight," Daccord said.

Powers praised Daccord's play and said it's an important moment in Daccord's college hockey career.

"When you get a shutout, let alone a shutout against such a good hockey team like that, and it's his first of his career in college, it's a special moment for him," Powers said. "He earned it. He deserved it."

Freshman forward Johnny Walker scored two of the team's three goals in the second period.

ASU found the first goal of the game when junior defenseman Joey Raats wristed a shot by River Hawks goaltender Christoffer Hernberg at 19:08. 

"We just didn't want to sit back," Powers said. "We got through the first with a big goal there at the end by (Raats) and we said 'we're done sitting back ... we need to be the aggressors'."

The Sun Devils carried their momentum into the locker room, and it did not take long for ASU to score once the team hit the ice again. 

Just under six minutes into the second period, Walker scored his sixth goal of the season off a nifty forehand-to-backhand breakaway to give ASU a 2-0 lead.

And Walker was not done yet. Just under three minutes later, he beat Hernberg once again to extend ASU’s advantage to 3-0. 

Before the period was up, ASU got a late power play opportunity when UMass-Lowell's junior forward Nick Master took a two-minute tripping penalty at 18:53. 

Just 22 seconds later, redshirt senior forward David Norris deflected a snapshot from sophomore forward Tyler Busch just inside the blue line behind Hernberg. ASU took a 4-0 lead with 45.7 seconds remaining in the second period and the advantage would hold for the final 20 minutes of play. 

Giving up the body

The Sun Devils blocked 22 shots to help preserve the shutout win over the River Hawks. Four defensemen finished the game tied with three blocks.

"The (defense) and especially the forwards too did an unbelievable job blocking shots," Daccord said. "I think that was one of our lowest shot totals against all year. When they make my life easier, it definitely helps a lot." 

A Happy New Year for the Maroon & Gold Skaters

Saturday's win coupled with the results of the inaugural Ice Vegas Invitational, ASU is now 3-1 to start the 2018 calendar year. During that time, the Sun Devils have outscored opponents 14-9.

"We talked before the Ice Vegas tournament that it's a new year, we're going to put 2017 behind us," Walker said. "Just turning the page ... and making sure we use our home-ice advantage that we have here."

What's Next for ASU

ASU is off until next Friday, when the Sun Devils begin a two-game series with the Quinnipiac Bobcats. Game one will be played at Oceanside Ice Arena, while game two will take place at Gila River Arena in Glendale. Puck drops for both games are slated for 7:05 p.m. MST. 

Reach the reporter at or follow @Michael_Baron96 on Twitter.

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