ASU hockey struggles to find scoring, fails to win over Michigan State

The Sun Devils tied one game and lost another to drop to 0-3-1 on the season

After a rough opening pair of losses against Michigan, ASU hockey was unable to net their first victory of the 2020 season at Michigan State, tying 1-1 on Thursday night and losing 2-0 on Friday night.

Thursday

Following a scoreless first period, in which the Sun Devils couldn't capitalize on two power-play opportunities, Spartans defenseman Christian Krygier scored Michigan State's first goal of the season just under two minutes into the second period with a shot that got by ASU freshman goaltender Cole Brady.

Brady made 13 saves in the first period before allowing the goal.

Both teams were unable to find the back of the net until late in the third period, when ASU redshirt junior forward Chris Grando netted a goal over the glove of Michigan State goaltender Drew DeRidder with 4:14 left in regulation.

"(Michigan State) was blocking a ton of shots," ASU hockey head coach Greg Powers said. "The whole directive going into the third was 'let's just get pucks and bodies to the net' ... and that's how we scored."

It was just the team's second goal through nearly nine full periods of hockey so far this season.

"(William Knierim) threw it in front and I think (Jacob) Semik just kind of tapped it, and it fell into my lap so it felt really good," Grando said. "It was huge (to get that momentum). It was a big weight off my shoulders after not playing a while, but our team felt we were going to score way earlier in that game."

Neither ASU nor Michigan State scored in overtime, resulting in a tie. Despite the fact the Big Ten Conference has shootout rules in place in the event that a goal is not scored in overtime, any game ASU plays this season in which neither team is able to score in the five-minute overtime period will not go to a shootout.

"I hate ties," Powers said. "I think ties are un-American. I really wish they'd let us play the shootout. They were supposed to, and I know the Big Ten was very supportive of us going into shootouts, but for whatever reason, the NCAA denied that waiver literally it happened today.

"We found out about 30 minutes before puck drop, they denied that waiver. Of course, we go into what would've been a shootout on national TV, so that's frustrating, but it is what it is."

Friday

ASU began the second game of the series with more momentum than how they started in their first three matchups of the new year thanks to a pair of early penalties by Michigan State.

"The most important thing is getting our second chances ... we just have to keep pushing and doing the right things," senior defenseman and captain Jacob Wilson said. "It's a team mentality, we are in this together."

However, despite outshooting the Spartans early on in the opening period, Michigan State jumped on the scoreboard first, scoring on just 7:36 into the first.

"It was our best 10 minutes of hockey yet," Powers said of the start of the game despite the goal. "I thought we played pretty well tonight and generated good chances."

Spartan forward Mitchell Lewandowski scored Michigan State's second goal of the game with 8:32 remaining in the contest to double his team's lead.

The Sun Devils were unable to get on the score sheet in the game, resulting in their second shutout through the first four games of the 2020-21 season.

ASU junior goaltender Evan DeBrouwer, who stopped 38 of 40 shots, played game two over freshman goaltender Cole Brady.

"We know we have the players even without Johnny (Walker) to score goals," Powers said. "We just gotta wash it and reset.

"We did more good things than bad tonight; we just didn't put the puck in the net. This program is built on adversity ... we knew what we were getting into (this season)."

After playing the first four games of their season against the two Michigan schools, ASU has eight days until its next series, which begins next Saturday night at the Kohl Center in Madison against Wisconsin.


Reach the reporter at aklatsky@asu.edu and follow @averyklatsky on Twitter. 

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