ASU hockey handed another sweep in losses to No. 12 Wisconsin

The Sun Devils have been swept four times this season

The Arizona State men's hockey team was swept for the fourth time this season over the weekend, losing 4-0 and 5-2 on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, to the No. 12 Wisconsin Badgers at LaBahn Arena in Madison, Wisconsin.

Saturday

Saturday night's game, originally slated to be the series finale between the two teams, turned into the opening game of the series due to "COVID-19 developments" within ASU's program, which was announced by the team on Friday afternoon a few hours before puck drop.

The Sun Devils brought in ASU club hockey team junior goaltender Bronson Moore to serve as the team's third goalie, as freshman goaltender Cole Brady was out due to mononucleosis.

Other players not in the lineup included Willie Knierim and Ryan O'Reilly, as well as defensemen Jarrod Gourley and Jacob Wilson

Wisconsin got out to an early start in the game, scoring at 2:37, 7:02, and 16:21 into the first period to take a commanding 3-0 lead.

"(Adversity is) a badge of honor," head coach Greg Powers said after the loss. "We go through more adversity than anybody, especially with the nature of what we have to do this season to play, but we don't want to lose." 

Sophomore goaltender Justin Robbins, who earned his first collegiate start and win in last weekend's victory over Notre Dame, allowed three goals on nine shots faced in the period and was pulled following the third Badger score.

Junior Evan DeBrouwer replaced him in net, stopping 20 of 21 shots on target in the remaining 43:39 minutes of regulation.

Wisconsin scored their fourth goal of the game at 17:02 into the second period. 

"Another thing that really is a pillar of our culture is we don't make excuses," Powers said. "There (are) no excuses with us, and I'm not going to allow COVID to be an excuse ... we just accepted defeat and that's unacceptable." 

Sunday

The Sun Devils began Sunday evening's game with much more momentum than they had displayed in the loss the night before. Senior forward James Sanchez scored in front of the net 7:57 into the game as a result of a 5-on-3 power-play opportunity for ASU, which ended just five seconds prior.

Shortly thereafter, Wisconsin tied the game on a long shot from Badgers' Linus Weissbach on a power-play of their own that was able to find its way past DeBrouwer.

Wisconsin added yet another power-play goal 37 seconds later from Montreal Canadiens' prospect Cole Caufield.

The Badgers added a third goal from Mike Vorlicky, who went five-hole on DeBrouwer, with 4:19 left in the second period to take a two-goal lead.

"(Wisconsin does) a great job of blocking (shots) down low and putting their guys in front of the net," freshman forward Michael Mancinelli said. "We had a couple of great chances ... (but) it was tough. We try to not make any excuses and this week was a great time for (some guys) to step up and they did."

Mancinelli scored a goal 7:23 into the third period to bring the game within one goal.

"They were awesome tonight," Powers said of his program. "I thought we played well enough to win. The result didn't go our way ... it was impressive (despite being shorthanded)."

Wisconsin added two empty-net goals with 1:23 and 0:46 left in regulation to extend their lead to three goals, dropping ASU to 5-11-2 on the season and 1-5 in their last six games.

"I thought we came out well the whole game ā€” we wanted to win," Powers said. "We have a lot of character in our room. No matter who we have to suit up, we play hard, compete and battle ... we definitely did that in the third period."

The Sun Devils will return to Minneapolis, Minnesota, to play their third and fourth games of the season against the No. 1 Minnesota Golden Gophers on Thursday and Friday. ASU was swept by Minnesota in 4-1 and 6-4 losses on Jan. 3 and 4, respectively.


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

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