TEMPE, Arizona - The Alaska Nanooks hockey team dropped their season-opener on Saturday night, falling 3-0 to the Arizona State Sun Devils in nonconference action at the Oceanside Arena. The loss drops Alaska's overall record to 0-1-0, while ASU improves to 1-0-0 on the season.
"I thought we had a bit of a slow start tonight, ASU jumped on us early but I did think we got better as the game went on," first-year head coach Erik Largen said on Saturday. "I really liked how we played in the second period and we did take some risks in the third period but in the end, it wasn't enough to win against a team like Arizona State."
Arizona State opened up the scoring at the 10:42 mark of the first period with a goal from Demetrios Koumontzis to make it 1-0. The Sun Devils entered the Alaska defensive zone on a 3-on-2 rush before ASU's Tyler Busch let a shot loose from the high slot. Koumontzis was able to get a stick on the puck while crashing the net for a tip-in to earn his first goal of the season. Austin Lemieux was credited the secondary assist.
Not even a minute later, Arizona State's Johnny Walker gave the home team a 2-0 advantage with an even-strength tally at the 11:12 mark of the first period. Alaska dumped the puck into the ASU zone before Sun Devil netminder Joey Daccord left the net and played the puck. Daccord fired a stretch pass up-ice to Walker, who was floating in the neutral zone behind the Nanook defensemen. Walker went on a breakaway into the Alaska zone before beating Nanook junior goaltender Anton Martinsson for his first goal of the season.
After a scoreless second period, Arizona State sealed the victory with an empty-net goal from Brinson Pasichnuk at the 18:26 mark of the third period.
The Nanooks were outshot by their opponent 34-23, with Martinsson collecting a game-high 31 saves, including 15 in the first period and 10 in the third. On the other end of the ice, ASU's Daccord posted 23 saves in 60 minutes.
"Going into tomorrow's game, we have to have a consistent effort from everyone throughout the entire 60 minutes," Largen concluded. "We need to be ready to go at the drop of the puck and if we can do that, I think we'll be in good shape."
The Alaska Nanooks hockey team will take on Arizona State again tomorrow (Sunday, Oct. 7) with another nonconference matchup at the Oceanside Ice Arena in Tempe, Arizona. Puck-drop is scheduled for 2pm AKT.