Following a 10-1 walloping at No. 6 Miami (Ohio) on Saturday afternoon, the ASU women’s hockey team returned to the ice on Sunday morning at Ohio State with a vengeance and possibly one of the team’s best performances all season.
ASU defeated Ohio State 4-2 at the OSU Ice Rink in a game that the Sun Devils controlled from start to finish.
“I think we gave a little better effort and there was a higher energy,” ASU assistant coach Kaley Marino said. “Overall, we knew that we had to pull together and the overall effort was there.”
In the first period, ASU notched two goals courtesy of senior forward Amber Galles and sophomore forward Alyssa Ayers.
Galles roofed a shot on the backhand early in the opening frame while Ayers was the beneficiary of a backdoor pass that was put on her stick by junior forward Taylor England.
The two goals in the first period stopped any possible momentum from the Buckeyes.
“I think we had a little more rest today,” ASU senior defenseman and captain KC McGinley said. “It’s important, especially on an away trip to recharge as much as possible.”
McGinley was a force on both ends of the ice, as the senior captain continued to develop scoring chances from the blue line.
“Games like today were fun when we can make a lot of things happen in the offensive zone,” McGinley said. “I was just trying to get ready for playoffs and focus on my shot. Nothing happened (with goal scoring), but I got a lot of shots on net.”
The Buckeyes came up with two goals in the second period off of the sticks of senior forwards Nora Anderson and Brittany Brandon.
Anderson scored following a penalty. She stepped out of the box, received a stretch pass and then sped down the ice to put home a backhand breakaway goal.
Following Anderson’s goal, ASU responded with a goal of its own from freshman forward Catherine Jones. Ohio State added one more goal to bring the store within one, but ASU controlled the third period from start to finish.
Galles added an empty-net goal to make the score 4-2 in the third period, rounding out another productive day on the rink for the forward, who came away with two goals in Sunday’s contest.
“I think it was just effort,” Galles said. “We have had problems with some people not giving 100 percent every game, and I think when everybody comes in with the same mindset, we will be fine (moving forward).”
Despite a 4-2 victory, the Sun Devils felt there was even more they could have done during Sunday's game.
“I think they (ASU) were just excited to play and they were ready to get a win, but I think sometimes that gets away from us...I think we get a little too happy,” Marino said. “It gets that way, but I think overall, they were able to dial back in when they realized that we were a little bit closer than we should have been.”
Nevertheless, ASU pulled out a solid win less than 24 hours after an obliteration at Miami (Ohio).
With the victory in Columbus, the Sun Devils will now have a happy flight back home before getting ready for the postseason.
This weekend’s road trip will not affect ASU in the current Western Women’s Collegiate Hockey League (WWCHL) standings, and the Sun Devils are now 3-2 over their last five games.
While Saturday’s game at Miami might have been a blemish on ASU’s season, ASU got back to playing its brand of hockey in Sunday's contest.
An opponent will be determined in the WWCHL playoffs pending other games and seedings around the league, but ASU will certainly be ready for whomever they may play on Feb. 23 in Fremont, Nebraska.
In the meantime, the team will prepare and get back to work with two weeks of practice before traveling to Nebraska.
“Once you are going to playoffs, it doesn’t matter, your record doesn’t matter. You are already there,” Marino said. “It doesn’t matter how you did against teams in the past, you just go from there. I think it’s a good time for us start doing well and we are trending in the right direction.”
Reach the reporter at email@example.com or follow @AndrewBell7 on Twitter.