Everyone wants to be king, but things tend to get a lot more difficult when you wear the crown.
That is, unless you are the Arizona State hockey team. Then you simply throttle your hated rival.
One day after achieving the No. 1 rank in the ACHA polls for the first time in program history, the Sun Devils traveled down to Tucson to begin a weekend series against the Arizona Wildcats. The Wildcats came into the series ranked No. 17 in the nation, and were looking to end a 26-game losing streak to ASU. Based on the series' often tense and chippy history, everyone down in Tucson knew that this was going to be a battle.
The Sun Devils, as they have often done throughout the season, struck first. After killing a Wildcat penalty, sophomore forward Kale Dolinski netted his 11th goal of the year, thanks to assist by Danny McAuliffe and Jordan Young. ASU was able to double their lead later in the period thanks to a goal by Stephen Collins, once again assisted by Young. The nation's No. 1 team controlled the first 20 minutes, outshooting UofA 20-10, and Sun Devil goalie Joe D'Elia was solid in turning back all Wildcat shots.
It would not be such a heated rivalry without some intense moments, and those came out in spades in the second. Freshman forward Brennan Parker got the Wildcats one the board four minutes into the period, but ASU would soon answer back and then some.
Liam Norris scored his second goal of the year off of helpers from Colin Hekle and McAuliffe, and McAuliffe got his third point of the night with a nice goal to extend the Sun Devil lead to 4-1. Dolinski then scored his second of the game before things turned ugly late in the second period.
A dirty hit by the Wildcats knocked Young out of the game, and tensions rose in the arena as the UofA fans in attendance seemed unbothered by the injury. Young was helped off the ice and is being evaluated.
Rather than sink to the level of the home team, the Sun Devils instead just scored more goals. Dolinski completed his hat trick in the third period and Collins scored his second to make it a 7-1 ASU lead, a score that would prove to be the final score.
ASU outshot UofA 48-21 on the night, and D'Elia picked up the win to run his season record to a perfect 8-0-0.
The two teams will battle it out again tomorrow night in Tucson, with the puck set to drop at 7:30 p.m. In the mean time, our best wishes go out to Jordan Young.
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