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ASU hockey splits series against No. 20 Bemidji State

The Sun Devils ended three game losing streak with win Friday at Oceanside Ice Arena

ASU ice hockey athletes celebrate after scoring a goal against UMass Lowell at Oceanside Arena in Tempe, Arizona on Saturday, October 2, 2021.

ASU hockey defeated Bemidji State University 6-4 in the final game of a two game series at home against the No. 20 Beavers. The Sun Devils bounced back after a 4-3 loss to the Beavers Wednesday night.

ASU was outplayed throughout its first game of the series, getting outshot 30-16 through two periods, and trailing by two goals for most of the game. The Beavers' forecheck frustrated the Sun Devils, putting constant pressure on its defense.

"We just dug ourselves a hole that we couldn't quite get out of," ASU hockey head coach Greg Powers said of the team's first game.

There were glimpses of hope in the third period. The Sun Devils outshot the Beavers 10-3, with sophomore forward Matthew Kopperud picking up his team-leading 10th goal of the season. The woes of the first two periods were too much to overcome.

"We can't pick and choose when we want to play hard," Powers said. "If we do that; we will be a .500 hockey team."

Powers sent a message to the team by making a lineup change for the second game. Freshman defenseman Ethan Szmagaj was listed as the team's extra defenseman, taking the place of sophomore forward Benji Eckerle.

The decision proved costly immediately.

Freshman forward Jack Jensen picked up a roughing penalty 16 seconds into the game. Just 11 seconds later, Bemidji State scored the first goal of the game on its first shot.

The Sun Devils responded quickly. Graduate student forward Sean Dhooghe accelerated toward the Beaver defense and lifted the puck over sophomore goalie Gavin Enright for his second goal of the season.

They scored two more unanswered goals in the second period. ASU outshot Bemidji State 27-11 through the first two periods.

ASU snapped a three game losing streak with the win. The team previously lost two straight games against No. 3 ranked Quinnipiac.

READ MORE: ASU hockey looks to home stretch after tough series at No. 3 Quinnipiac

The Sun Devils' next game is Friday, Dec. 3 at 7:05 p.m. MST versus the University of Denver at Oceanside Arena. The Sun Devils lost 8-3 and 4-3 in a series against Denver earlier in the season.

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Sean Lynch

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