TEMPE, Arizona – The Michigan State hockey team dropped its second of two games with Arizona State on Saturday night in Tempe, 2-0. The Sun Devils scored a goal in each of the first two periods and ASU goaltender Joey Daccord turned away all 20 Spartan shots he faced.
“We did a lot of things a lot better tonight. I wish we had started the weekend with this effort and this execution,” MSU head coach Danton Cole said. “Last night we scored four goals, didn’t execute a lot of stuff, so we wasted that opportunity. Tonight, their goalie was really good. We had a couple breakaways, hit couple posts, Patrick (Khodorenko) had a couple chances on the backdoor that normally are in the net. Their goalie was good both nights, he was one goal better last night and two goals better tonight and that’s the way it goes.
“I wish we would have played this way last night and we would have had the chance to have had a lot better weekend.”
The Spartans (4-4) outshot the Sun Devils in the opening 20 minutes, but it was ASU that got on the board. Following the expiration of an ASU penalty, the Sun Devils got an odd-man rush and Brinson Pasichnuk drove to the net, putting home a pass from Jake Clifford with 5:01 to play in the period.
Arizona State (9-3) used the power play to build its lead to 2-0 just past the midway point of the second period. Consecutive Spartan penalties one minute apart gave the Sun Devils a 5-on-3 advantage. MSU erased the first portion of the two-man advantage, getting it to a 5-on-4, but with 49 seconds to go on the second MSU penalty, Filips Buncis scored on a wrist shot through a crowd from the right circle.
Michigan State got an opportunity to get back into the game near the end of the second as a major penalty ASU’s Jarrod Gourley for checking from behind gave MSU a 5-minute power play with 3:48 to play in the period. The Spartans weren’t able to convert on the 5-minute power play and wound up going 0-for-5 in the game on the man-advantage.
“There a good penalty-killing team,” Cole said of ASU’s penalty kill, which ranked third nationally heading into the weekend. “There was some good movement on our end, we moved the puck well and it doesn’t go in sometimes.”
ASU went 1-for-6 on the power play with 13 of the Sun Devils’ 31 shots on goal coming on the man-advantage.
The Spartans were able to get a handful of good looks in the final 1:49 of the third when they pulled goaltender John Lethemon for the extra attacker but were never able to solve Daccord.
The Spartans begin Big Ten play next weekend, hosting Notre Dame on Friday at Saturday at Munn Ice Arena.
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