With everyone in the ACHA talking about No. 2 Arizona State taking on No.3 Minot State this weekend, not many people remembered the other team ASU would play on the road trip: Williston State.
The Sun Devils were recently crowned as the two seed in the ACHA National Tournament so this weekend represented a chance to gain some momentum heading into the final stretch.
Fortunately for ASU, the senior class is looking to graduate with a bang and the seniors have scored the game-winning goals in two of the last three games. Tonight, it was all about Dan Anderson.
With the game tied at 3-3 heading into the shootout, Anderson skated out to center ice with a chance to give his team the lead and he capitalized. Arizona State escaped on the road with a 4-3 shootout victory. Sophomore forward Faiz Khan also scored in the shootout with Dan Styrna, Danny McAuliffe and Stephen Collins both missing on their attempts.
Williston State had nothing to lose heading into the game and they were the reason the Arizona Wildcats saw their bubble burst in making the 2013 ACHA Tournament.
Before the weekend series, forward Ben Findlay said, "We've got to be sharp on offense...our mindset is to play every game we have left like it's the first game at nationals and try to get that killer instinct going."
Sun Devil junior Brian McGinty replaced injured captain Colin Hekle on the top line next to Khan and Styrna and Liam Norris played in his first game since Colorado on November 9. Norris played as the second line center, but his previous linemate Kale Dolinski was out sick. Also, goaltender Joe D'Elia did not travel with the team so Corey Frank got his first start in nearly a month and recorded his fourth win of the season.
The offense was lacking tonight as the Sun Devils scored three goals in regulation. After the first period, however, the maroon and gold led 2-0, scoring on 28 percent of their shots. On his 21st birthday, Troy Scott got to celebrate with his team (but not over mixed drinks on Mill Avenue) as he scored his second goal of the season. Senior Dan Styrna took a page out of Scott's book with another five-hole beauty to put the Sun Devils up by two, but Williston State would not go away.
The Tetons scored two quick goals of their own to tie the game up before Danny McAuliffe stole the show back with a goal under two minutes to play in the period. Williston State goaltender Corey McMahon was replaced heading into the final period.
The goaltending change was enough to spark the home offense as Williston Stat scored the tying goal to force Overtime.
ASU's Frank made two big saves in the shootout period, blocking the potential game-winning Williston State goal and stuffing their leading scorer, Brandon Passley, to clinch a Sun Devil victory.
The game may not have been played the way the Sun Devils would have wanted, but they will take the ending result.
The Sun Devils will test out the below zero temperatures again on Friday and Saturday night when they face third ranked Minot State Beavers. The puck is set to drop at 7:30 p.m. both nights and you can watch the games on FastHockey.com.