The stretch run is on for Arizona State hockey.
After their dominant first half, the team embarks upon the season's second half, which features a steep increase in competition for the ACHA's top team.
Already, ASU earned a hard fought split in the Great Northwest Showcase up in British Columbia, and on Thursday night they returned home for another tough bout with the ACHA's No. 4 team, Minot State.
The Beavers wasted no time in jumping out on the Sun Devils, beating goalie Joe D'Elia twice in the game's first seven minutes. The first was scored by Logan Herauf, assisted by Michael Jordan (not that one) and Garrett Ferguson after a defensive miscue by the Sun Devils. The second was an unassisted tally by Jordan Willert, just his fourth of the year. They nearly had a third goal a few minutes later, but a fortuitous dislodging of the net bailed out ASU.
The Sun Devils did manage to strike back, as Brian McGinty notched his 12th of the year off of assists by Stephen Collins and Ryan Clark, but for the most part the Minot State defense held ASU at bay.
Arizona State would continue to be stymied by the Beavers for the duration off the game. Nine minutes into the period, Brett Fiddler scored off of a breakaway to increase the Minot State lead to 3-1. It wasn't until there was under a minute left in regulation that another goal was scored, this time a Sun Devil goal from Collins with D'Elia pulled for the extra attacker.
However, there would be no further scores, as ASU fell for just the fourth time this season. Minot State's defense and the goaltending of Wyatt Waselenchuk were simply too dominant on this night. The Sun Devils will get a chance at revenge next month, when they travel to North Dakota to battle the Beavers in a two-game series on February 15-16.
The Sun Devils (21-4) will look to get back on track on Friday night against Williston State (8-6) of the NJCAA. The puck drops at Oceanside Ice Arena in Tempe at 8 p.m.