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Arizona hockey: Wildcats rout ASU, 8-4, to start 2-0

Trey Decker, Orion Olsen scored twice in Arizona hockey’s victory over Arizona State

Arizona Hockey Faceoff

The Arizona Wildcats hockey team capped off opening weekend with an 8-4 victory over the Arizona State Sun Devils at the Tucson Convention Center on Saturday night.

The victory improves Arizona’s record to 2-0 after it beat GCU on Friday.

Arizona State began with the early lead, netting the first goal of the night shorthanded at 4:47 into the first period. It wouldn’t take long for the Wildcats to answer, however, as Orion Olsen was able to find the back of the net less than three minutes later.

Both teams sent a physical message of aggression early in the first, sending players into the penalty box on a handful of times. This included a fight between Arizona’s Camden Armstrong and ASU’s Ben Mack at 18:42 in the period. Both Armstrong and Mack were assessed five-minute slashing majors and game disqualifications for fighting.

That fight would set the tone for the remainder of the game. In whole, both teams accumulated 20 combined penalty minutes in the first period alone. But those penalties did not slow down these two teams as they both scored once more before the the end of the first, including the first of two goals by Trey Decker.

The second period opened up just as fast as the first. Wildcat forward Max Meyer put the Wildcats up 3-2. ASU answered quickly, tying the game at three goals apiece.

The physicality never slowed down on either side. Arizona was unable to keep themselves out of the penalty box in the second period. They accumulated another 20 penalty minutes, including a 10-minute misconduct penalty handed out to Anthony Cusanelli. But, despite the lack of discipline from Arizona in the second, the Sun Devils were unable to capitalize, failing to score any more goals in the period.

The Wildcats, on the other hand, were soon able to take command of the game as the second period progressed. Back-to-back goals by Josh Larson and Decker would give the Wildcats the 5-3 lead.

The third period was all Arizona. The Sun Devils were able to break their goal drought sometime in the third period. But it was all too late for ASU, as the Wildcats would still go on to score three more goals from Tyler Griffith, Ethan Stahlhuth, and Olsen.

With their opening weekend sweep now complete, the Wildcats will take a couple days off before their next game Wednesday when they will head to Tempe rematch the Sun Devils at Oceanside Arena.

Game time is scheduled for 9:20 p.m.

Follow Robby Leaño on Twitter at @robleano1