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Late-game heroics power ASU over GCU Men’s Ice Hockey

October 15, 2019

By: Garrett Osterode/GCU Staff

Penalties and missed opportunities.

The Grand Canyon University Men’s Ice Hockey Division I team did not begin their 2019-20 crosstown rivalry with Arizona State University quite the way they wanted to. The Lopes surrendered a total of 11 goals in two games, dropping a 7-4 decision on Friday, and losing, 4-3, in overtime on Saturday at Oceanside Ice Arena in Tempe. Leading the way on the offensive end for the Lopes was Ryan Gil, who racked up three assists and two goals in the two games.

Friday: ASU 7, GCU 4

Friday night’s game started just about as strong as possible for the Lopes as Declan Carter broke free from the defense and buried a breakaway goal on an assist from Collin Madrid to take a 1-0 lead with 15:15 remaining in the first period.

Unfortunately, a total of 10 Lopes’ minutes in the penalty box halted any momentum for the rest of the period.

ASU got on the board three minutes later when Andrew Husted connected on a one-timer from Jack Hauswirth for a power play goal to tie the game. The Sun Devils added another goal before the end of the period on another power play, this time by Adam Havener, who smoked a slapshot from just in front of the goal line straight to the back of the net. 

ASU outshot GCU 26-3 in the first period.

The Lopes began the second period creating much better opportunities and controlling the puck with more ease, but two more GCU penalties put the Sun Devils back in control. Husted connected on his second goal of the game with over eight minutes remaining to push the score to 3-1. Less than a minute later, the Sun Devils struck again – this time off the stick of Clayton Lackey – extending their lead to 4-1. 

The Lopes inched their way back when Trey Greene scored with 2:56 remaining in the second period off assists from Ryan Gil and Tyler Millar. GCU hoped to carry the momentum of Greene’s goal into intermission, but ASU’s offensive push was relentless, wearing down the Lopes’ defense and striking once more before the end of the period to take a 5-2 edge. ASU’s

Kowalchuk iced the game with back-to-back goals to begin the third period to extend the Sun Devils lead to 7-2. Greene and Millar collected third period goals for GCU to finish the scoring.

Saturday: ASU 4, GCU 3 (F/OT)

Less than 24 hours later, the Lopes were back at Oceanside for a chance to split the weekend series, but ASU and Husted picked up right where they left off the night before, scoring a goal to give the Sun Devils a 1-0 lead with 7:33 remaining in the period. 

That’s all the Sun Devils would get until late in the final period as GCU goalkeeper Chad Duran held his own and limited ASU’s scoring opportunities. 

Right before the first period ended, Gil took an unassisted puck straight to the back on the net with 16 seconds left to send the game to intermission tied at 1-1. Gil was back on the attack after the break, connecting on his second goal of the day and fifth point of the weekend to give GCU their first lead on assists from Carter and Millar. Despite three powerplay opportunities, ASU did not find the back of the net in the second period as Duran and the Lopes’ defense held strong. 

After 10 minutes of strong defensive play on both sides of the ice in the third period, including a penalty kill for both teams, the Lopes’ Matt Mezik buried a breakaway, unassisted goal to give the Lopes an all important 3-1 lead. 

Then disaster struck.

ASU’s Damon Porter blew past the Lopes’ defense to cut the Lopes’ lead to one with 2:16 remaining in regulation, and Kowalchuk tied the score just 25 seconds later – sniping a goal just past the reach of Duran – to force overtime. 

In the Lopes’ second overtime session of the season (they lost the season opener in extras to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas), Husted linked up with Sun Devil teammate Elliot Plourde for the game-winner 65 seconds into the extra stanza to send the Sun Devils home with a two-game weekend sweep.

Division II Lopes dealt two losses versus ASU

On the Division II side, the Sun Devils also had the Lopes’ number this weekend, dominating play in Tempe Thursday en route to a 9-2 win, then spoiling the Lopes’ home opener Friday at AZ Ice Arcadia, pulling away in the second period on the way to an 8-4 victory to finish the sweep.

The DI Lopes are back in action this coming weekend as they take on Northern Arizona University for a two-game home-and-home series. GCU will head north on Friday night for an 8:30 pm start, then welcome the IceJacks to AZ Ice Arcadia on Saturday, Oct. 19 for a 7 pm puck drop. General admission at the door is $8, but GCU students and faculty get in free with a valid GCU ID.

Interested in joining GCU Ice Hockey? Contact the coach for the men’s ice hockey team to learn more!