By Adam Stio – firstname.lastname@example.org
The stands were filling up about an hour before the game. The seats upstairs on the mezzanine were jammed early. Everyone was pressed up against the glass. The stage was set. It’s the re-match from last year’s Division I final. Not many people were talking history or rivalry, but there was something in the air.
Sean Sullivan opened the game fast for Lindenwood. It took the Lions 44 seconds to open the game’s scoring. When asked about the history here Sullivan stated, “I don’t think it’s a rivalry yet, but maybe soon.” The Sun Devils gained a power play about 2 minutes later and capitalized, tying the game early. Alex Dodt popped one in on the back door to answer with one of the nation’s top power play units. Alex commented, “Our time of possession was good and breakouts were good, so we were happy.” The fast-paced Lindenwood squad didn’t slow down all game. Elliott Linton pounced on an ASU defensive error and made it 2-1 just 3 minutes later.
In the second period it took the Lions 2:28 to put 2 more goals on the board. The brother combo of Michael and Daniel Inouye connected for one and Sean Sullivan notched the other. Daniel Inouye said, “We can’t take anything for granted.” Brian Ganz put in two in two minutes including a power play tally for ASU to cut the lead to 4-3. Ganz stated after the game, “We found some loop holes in their game and things we could refine in ours to get this done.” A bit later Lindenwood answered with two more in 1:25. Wes Schaeffer and Matt Sexton pushed the Lions up 6-3 at the end of the period.
The third brought a lot of fire, but it was all put out by the goaltenders. Each team grabbed a tally to get the final 7-4. ASU forward Tyler Koressel said, “It was a fun game to play in and we looked for ways to have fun and settle in. We shouldn’t have been in the box as much, but our special teams played great.”
Looking ahead ASU captain Alex Dodt felt that, “we played the best team and did well. If we play like this going forward, we’ll be alright.” Brian Ganz added “It’s mine and a couple of other guys’ last year and I would like to see us back there (in the championship).”
Going forward for Lindenwood offensive guru Sean Sullivan, jokingly “takes the next game personal” as it’s against a team close to his hometown in Rowan. Michael Inouye says he is, “Looking forward to the game” and “…likes the NCRHA format of playing the top teams in a pool.”
Game notes: ASU finished 3 for 5 on the power play and their penalty killing was 100% including a long 4 on 2. Throughout the season and playoffs they have been one of the nation’s best. Lindenwood only pulled the puck back behind their net once during the game. Their fast-paced puck possession and passing were precise. There’s a reason they are number one.