GCU Men’s Ice Hockey Overcomes ASU in Shootout
By David Carter/GCU Staff
Fighting to the end was the theme for GCU Men’s Ice Hockey this Saturday.
Unlike Friday night’s 4-2 loss at Oceanside Ice Arena in Tempe, Grand Canyon University Men’s Ice Hockey dug out from an early deficit to ultimately conquer the Arizona State University (ASU) Sun Devils, 6-5, in a shootout.
For the second straight night, ASU was the team to strike first and dominate the first period. With 16:18 remaining in the first, ASU scored to take an early 1-0 lead. They followed that up with a power play goal with 4:07 left to take a 2-0 edge after one period.
“(After the first period, we) told the team that they had to settle down, “said Lopes Head Coach Danny Roy. “The bench was getting a little too chaotic, a little unorganized.”
That’s exactly what they did.
The Lopes came roaring back in the 2nd, scoring twice on power-play advantages within a 7-minute time frame to tie it at 2-2. However, ASU regrouped and scored with 1:55 remaining, taking a 3-2 lead before the end of the period.
That set the stage for an exciting third period. GCU came roaring back to make it 3-3 with 17:21 remaining, and the two teams exchanged goals over the next two minutes to remain tied. The defenses would stifle each offense over the next eight minutes until the Lopes’ attack broke through with 5:06 remaining to take their first lead of the night at 5-4. ASU recovered to tie the game with 3:27 left on a power play goal, which would send the game to overtime at 5-5.
In the 5-minute overtime, neither team could capitalize on their opportunities and break through, which sent the game to a penalty shootout. After ASU missed on their third penalty opportunity, Lopes freshman (and accounting major) Zach Bennett scored for the Lopes to give them a 6-5 win.
“Everyone wants to be out here, be competing and proving people wrong,” said Bennett. “We want to be a Division 1 team and we made a statement tonight against a pretty good club like ASU.”
This win gives the Lopes additional confidence in preparation for their next matchup this Saturday, September 22 against University of Arizona. It will be the Lopes’ first official game at their new home ice, AZ Ice Arcadia (38th Street and Thomas; building is behind the Sprint store). Game time is 6:30 pm.