ASU women's hockey falls to GCU 3-2 in an overtime thriller

The Sun Devils lost in an entertaining season opener

In the team’s season opener and in front of a packed house at AZ Ice Arcadia on Friday night, the ASU women’s hockey team fell at the hands of the GCU Lopes 3-2 in an overtime thriller.

In last year’s season opener between the two crosstown schools, the two teams went to overtime and the result was a draw after 65 minutes of hockey. 

On Friday night in Arcadia, that overtime narrative would change when GCU freshman defenseman Megan Brodfuehrer roofed a wrist shot in extra time that would seal a sudden-death Lopes victory.

“She’s an incredible hockey player,” GCU head coach Natalie Rossi said of Brodfuehrer. “I knew she was incredible but seeing her here and being able to step up to the competition and play the way she did is inspiring.”

Brodfuehrer continued to lead from the defensive zone throughout the game to create scoring chances, and she scored two of GCU’s three goals, with the other tally coming on a short-handed, backhand shot in the first period.

Friday evening's contest was a tale of two sides in the opening periods. In the opening frame, GCU controlled the pace of play, and they out shot ASU 18-6 at the end of the first period.

Coming out of the locker room in the second period, ASU was able to get some momentum tilted back their way as they continued to generate a variety of scoring chances that nearly tied the game. 

At the second intermission, the game was still in favor of GCU at 1-0, but ASU fought back and had some energy back on their side after some possible beginning of the year jitters in the first.

“Second period, we could tell our nerves were gone,” ASU junior defenseman Alyssa Ayers said. “I know the new girls especially were super nervous for this game...but I think it was just getting into a groove.”

The Sun Devils started to hit their stride in the second, and that carried over quickly to the final 20 minutes of hockey when ASU buried two goals to take a lead.

Junior defenseman Molly Potter found the back of the net on a shot with traffic to tie the game at one in the third. Later, Ayers picked up a puck off of a face-off and got it past the goal line with a screen in front of the net from sophomore forward Catherine Jones.

The Sun Devils were in position to steal an opening night victory, but GCU would not quit on their home ice. 

The Lopes out shot ASU 10-2 over the last 10 minutes, and that pressure would pay dividends when forward Brianne Lasky slipped a puck past the goal line to knot the game at two late in the third.

In a 3-on-3 overtime, Brodfuehrer came through for a GCU victory, concluding a highly-contested rivalry matchup that only continues to intensify. Compared to last year’s bouts between the two Arizona schools, the game was night and day, with much more speed, skill and growth on display as the two young programs continue to build.

“This rivalry is great. We had our stands packed which I never thought would be possible in Arizona to pack an arena,” Rossi said. “Both teams are better than last year, so it makes a very competitive game...They like playing each other. It’s a fun game to play your crosstown rivals.”

As for some other standouts, ASU senior defenseman KC McGinley and the duo of first line freshman forwards Danielle Dupont and Katharine Jones continued to create pressure and impose speed on the forecheck.

ASU head coach Lindsey Ellis said she was pleased with her first two lines and a variety of young players in their first collegiate games, but a full 60 minutes of hockey is something that the team looks to improve.

Friday’s matchup was certainly nothing for the team to hang their heads about and the Sun Devils will have a chance to split the series tomorrow night. Puck drop for game two between ASU and GCU is set for Saturday, Sep. 29 at 6:30 p.m.

“Obviously that’s tough to lose in overtime,” Ellis said. “They have to come out tomorrow and that effort has to be there 100 percent of the time and the entire game.”

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