Posted on October 30, 2021
The opener on Friday night found the Sun Devils in a surprisingly tough scrap for two and a half periods as they ran into an extremely hot keeper between the pipes in Peter Thome before winning 5-2. (Game Two is tonight at 7:05 p.m.)
The North Dakota transfer made 45 saves for UST, which happens to be the most in the nation by a netminder this season in a single game.
ASU ultimately got enough done to get the win in the opener while firing off 50 shots and putting four in the net in the third period. And let’s be honest, if you are going to outshoot an opponent 50-17 you better be leaving the ice with a win.
With the 50 shots on goal for the Sun Devils that gives them 126 over the last three games for an average of 42 a game during that stretch. Sean Dhooghe kept control for ASU winning 17 of 19 face offs in game one against St. Thomas.
The Sun Devils have now skated to a 4-1 record on home ice while outscoring opponents 22-11 in the five games.
The opening month has brought mixed results for ASU with a 5-4 mark, but that includes a pair of losses in Denver to a Pioneer team that has been ranked as high as No. 8 on the young season, and averaging an NCAA best 5.0 goals per game.
The second of the two-game set with Denver was a one-goal affair 4-3. The Devils have already picked up some quality wins on the season splitting with UMass-Lowell at home and taking one of two at Colgate last weekend.
The season has certainly already had some bright spots for Arizona State, especially on the offensive end. Matthew Kopperud leads the nation with 17 points (8 Goals, 9 Assists) on the year.
Entering the weekend, he was tied for the national lead in goals with seven. He added to that total with a Power Play tally vs St. Thomas in the first, also adding an assist in the third period in the series opener.
Josh Doan has opened his career in Tempe with bang. Entering the weekend, he was third in the nation in points and added to that total Friday night to give him 13 (4G, 9A) on the year, the most of any freshman in the country.
In fact, the next closest freshman in scoring is Massimo Rizzo of Denver who entered the weekend with 8 points (5G,3A).
Tim Lovell is providing some offense from the blue line as well as his 11 (3G, 8A) points on the year are the most in the nation from a defenseman.
It is also worth pointing out that all three of them are underclassmen with Kopperud and Lovell being sophomores. The three of them connected on the opening goal against the Tommies.
The Power Play tally in the second period by Kopperud was his seventh of the season with the advantage, the most PP goals in the nation by four goals.
That proficiency has helped ASU to a Power-Play percentage of .400, the second highest mark in the country entering play this weekend, trailing only the .469 of newly minted No. 1 team in the nation St. Cloud State.
The other side of special teams is where the problem has been for Arizona State. Opponents have had 38 Power-Plays against the Sun Devils this season, that is tied for the most times short-handed in the nation.
ASU has successfully killed off .790 of those PP chances, 33rd in the country, but they are just finding the penalty box at too high of a rate through the first nine games.
Arizona State has had 119 penalty minutes this season, the second-most in the nation, and they are averaging 13.22 minutes per game, 10th-most in country.
Offensively, ASU has tallied 35 goals in their first nine skates, which—as of this moment—is the most in the nation. They have yet to tally less than two goals in a game.
Arizona State has been solid in the third period when entering with a lead or tied having gone 5-1 on the season in such situations. The Sun Devils have yet to overcome a deficit when entering the second intermission going 0-3 in such games.
ASU has outscored opponents 16-9 in the third period and overtime this season.
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