Hockey falls to Arizona State
Published: Monday, October 28, 2013
Updated: Monday, October 28, 2013 22:10
After sweeping the BYU Showcase Oct. 17-19 in Provo, the USU hockey team returned home to face Arizona State on Friday. The Aggies fell to the Sun Devils 6-4.
“I thought we really played well. We did,” said USU head coach Jon Eccles. “The score was not indicative of the game and how it ended. We had a good first period. They got a couple good goals, we answered quickly. Some penalties kind of creeped in.”
The Aggies have a scrappy history with ASU. The Sun Devils came to Logan last year for a two-game series on Oct. 18-19. The Aggies swept the Devils, but the series was highlighted by a large fight on the ice during the Oct. 18 game.
“There was some bad blood last year, and...it was a discipline issue where we needed to be a little more disciplined last year, whereas this year I thought we did much better,” Eccles said.
The game got physical early. Aggie defenseman JoJo Chase got into a wrestling match with ASU’s Mitch Lyons in the first period, which got both players tossed from the game. ASU took advantage of the situation almost immediately when wingman Jason Kuta put the puck past USU goalie Bryce Scherschel to give the Devils a 1-0 lead.
USU responded with a slapshot goal from defenseman Shaun Gibbons with 5:07 remaining in the first, but ASU put up two more goals before the end of the period to go into the locker room with a 3-1 lead.
The scoring got started in the second period with a goal by Aggie center Stu Hepburn, but ASU would pad their lead with a power play goal by Jim Iwaszkiew to make it 4-2. Aggie players spent much of the last two periods in the penalty box.
“We spent probably over half the game in the box,” said forward Chris Videto. “It’s pretty hard to win when you’re down a man over half the game. I thought when we were five-on-five we were all over them, dominating them, but I think it’d be a different story if we hadn’t spent that much time in the box.”
There were 19 penalties in the game, and the Aggies accounted for 12 of them.
Things got interesting toward the end of the third period. Hepburn scored his second goal of the game with 5:30 remaining, and less than two minutes later, defenseman Aaron Ward found the back of the net to pull the Aggies within a goal at 5-4.
USU pulled Scherschel to gain a man advantage in the waning seconds of the game, but Kuta turned the puck back down the ice for an empty-net goal to make it a final score of 6-4.
“I thought we played great,” Hepburn said. “Obviously we were playing against a very good team, and we’ve been waiting all month to play these guys. It was a big matchup and we came out hard, they came out hard.”
Despite the loss, Eccles was proud of his team’s tenacity and their ability to play with a man down.
“I was really proud how we kept coming at them that third period,” he said. “That second period was tough. We killed off, I believe, close to six penalties. That’s 12 minutes. We had eight (penalties) that period, so that’s a lot. Plus, you have your guys on the power plays and your top lines penalty-killing, they’re going to run out of gas.”
USU rebounded the next day with an 8-2 win over BYU in Provo. The Aggies return to action on home ice at 7 p.m. on Friday Nov. 1 at the Eccles Ice Center in North Logan.