NCHC: Arizona State battles Western Michigan to a tie

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Try as it might, No. 9 Western Michigan had a hard time solving Arizona State goaltender Joey Daccord as the Broncos and Sun Devils tied, 2-2, in a back-and-forth game at Lawson Ice Arena in Kalamazoo, Mich. The Sun Devils then scored in an exhibition second overtime played three-on-three.

“He’s a great goalie; he’s finding his confidence,” said Arizona State coach Greg Powers. “He found it last week in our big win at Quinnipiac and he carried it over this weekend. I don’t think he’s played three in a row all year as a freshman. Boy, what a great way to end his NCAA portion of his freshman season.”

The Broncos and Sun Devils battled to a scoreless first period with a jump from both teams, as the guests fired two shots on goal in the first 34 seconds and the hosts ripped four shots of their own in the first 3:14.

“I thought most of the hockey game tonight was well-played,” said Broncos coach Andy Murray said. “I thought we dominated in terms of offensive statistics, shots, and scoring chances. They’re a very hard-working, determined team. I like how their team plays.”

Shortly past the halfway mark of the first period, the tone of the game turned toward more physicality and chippiness. Western Michigan’s Mike McKee was whistled for an elbowing minor at 9:18 that only resulted in two shots for the Sun Devils. The visitors’ forecheck proved to be a force throughout the night.

“We have to be a good forechecking team,” said Powers. “Our guys, in the last month, have really started to figure that out.”

The Sun Devils broke through first at 8:06 of the second on a put-back goal by center Tyler Busch assisted by right winger Brett Gruber. Western Michigan’s Colt Conrad answered it just 47 seconds later with an unassisted goal on a low deke to the glove side of ASU goalie Joey Daccord.

The physicality continued as play got end-to-end in the late stages of the second; however, neither team was able to add another goal.

“I didn’t think we had enough traffic in front of their net,” Murray said.

Sun Devils winger Jack Rowe broke a third-period stalemate at 15:13 on an assist from Louie Rowe (no relation) and it seemed as if the visitors might salvage the finale outright; however, the Broncos’ talented freshman winger Wade Allison buried the equalizer with WMU goalie Ben Blacker on the bench at 19:06 for an extra skater on an assist from Conrad. Allison started a give-and-go with Conrad that saw Allison skate across the slot and to the right side, where he parked it over a sprawled out Daccord.

“That was a huge goal we scored to tie the hockey game tonight,” said Murray. “We needed to get that goal. We continued to press and found a way.”

The two squads played a scoreless overtime to complete the game level for NCAA purposes, but Arizona State’s Wade Murphy found the back of the net on a five-hole shot past Blacker at 4:35 of the three-on-three frame. The bonus frame wasn’t without drama, as Alison, looking for a tripping penalty to the Sun Devils, was given a game misconduct just 27 seconds in for his actions toward an official.

“We thought we should have been on the power play [during] the three-on-three overtime,” Murray said. “I don’t think there’s a need for a misconduct, but he interpreted it differently.”

NCHC roundup

No. 13 North Dakota 2, St. Cloud State 1 (OT)
Mike Gornall’s first two goals of the season, including the game-winner 41 seconds into overtime, lifted No. 13 North Dakota to a 2-1 win over St. Cloud State at Ralph Engelstad Arena. The deciding goal came on an assist from Rhett Gardner, who served penalties earlier in the night for roughing and misconduct. The Huskies struck first on a power-play goal by Mikey Eyssimont at 11:25 of the first period on assists from Jacob Benson and Jack Ahcan. The Fighting Hawks answered with Gornall’s first tally of the night at 14:10 of the second on helpers from Shane Gersich and Brock Boeser. North Dakota players served eight minutes in penalties afterward, but St. Cloud was unable to answer. Cam Johnson collected 21 saves in the win for North Dakota and the Huskies’ Jeff Smith made 26 saves.

No. 1 Minnesota Duluth 5, Omaha 0
Five different players scored for Minnesota Duluth as the top-ranked Bulldogs cruised past visiting Omaha at Amsoil Arena, a night after the two squads played 70 minutes of even hockey. Adam Johnson, Alex Iafallo, Joey Anderson, Avery Peterson, and Neal Pionk all added goals to their stat line as Johnson, Peterson, and Pionk scored even strength while Iafallo and Anderson scored with the man advantage. Bulldogs goaltender Hunter Miska made 27 saves and collected the shutout.

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