ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The No. 13-ranked University of Michigan hockey team defeated Arizona State by a 5-3 decision on Red Berenson Rink at Yost Ice Arena Friday night (Feb. 23). The Wolverines increased their unbeaten streak to five games with the win, taking five of their last seven.
Arizona State jumped out to a fast start when their leading goal scorer, freshman forward Johnny Walker, who found the back of the Wolverine net just 51 seconds after puck drop. He received a pass from Brett Gruber and shelved the puck giving the Sun Devils the early 1-0 lead.
Michigan wasn’t behind for very long, as sophomore forward James Sanchez scored just over four minutes into the contest to bring the two teams even once again. Junior forward Cooper Marody took a break-out pass from junior defenseman Nicholas Boka and Marody carried the puck all the way up the ice into the Arizona State zone. Seeing Sanchez had slipped behind the Sun Devils’ defense, Marody threw the puck across the goalmouth to the wide open Sanchez for his second goal of the year.
Sanchez wasn’t done yet, and scored again three minutes later to give the Maize and Blue its first lead of the night. Freshman forward Josh Norris was able to tip sophomore forward Jake Slaker’s shot on net, creating a juicy rebound in front of the Arizona State net. Sanchez pounced on it first and slid it past the sprawling goaltender’s arm for the 2-1 lead.
Michigan continued the pressure in the first period and were rewarded with another goal, when freshman forward Michael Pastujov scored with 5:23 left in the opening frame. His sophomore brother Nick Pastujov knocked the puck out of a scrum to freshman forward Jack Becker, who brought the puck up the left wing into the Sun Devils’ zone. Becker took a backhand shot that was stopped, but the rebound bounced right to Michael who was able to tap it in for his fourth goal this season.
Four minutes into the second period, ASU netminder Joey Daccord skated out to play the puck up the ice to an open teammate but the pass was intercepted by sophomore forward Adam Winborg. Winborg quickly tried to put the puck on net but Daccord made a diving save to protect the yawning cage.
With just under two minutes left in the second frame, Slaker was sent off for goaltender interference. On the ensuing powerplay, Arizona State’s Walker collected his second goal of the contest by going bar-down over Lavigne’s shoulder with 1:25 left in the period.
Pressure mounted late in the game as Arizona State went on a 5-on-3 advantage following two Michigan penalties with under four minutes to play. After the Wolverines killed off their first, the Sun Devils’ Brett Gruber struck to bring the game within one. Shortly thereafter, with Daccord off for an extra attacker, freshman forward Dakota Raabe received the puck in the neutral zone before skating inside the blue line and icing the game with an empty-net goal.
Michigan will conclude its regular season schedule tomorrow night with their second tilt against the Sun Devils. Puck Drop at Yost Ice Arena is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. with Senior Night festivities taking place following the game. With their Big Ten slate wrapped up, the Wolverines have already clinched home-ice advantage for the first round of the Big Ten tournament and will return to action at Yost Ice Arena next Friday (March 2) evening.
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