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ASU Hockey: Sun Devils clinch Cactus Cup with 7-0 win over rival Arizona

Patrick Yudez had a hat trick and Liam Norris assisted on his brother's (above) two goals on the way to a Sun Devil beatdown.

Dominic Cotroneo/WCSN

David Norris never expected to play with his brother. Liam was two years older so the idea of Liam dishing a goal to David never crossed neither of their minds.

But David and Liam connected twice for the double Norris goal, two of seven Sun Devil goals as ASU went on to rout Arizona 7-0 and clinch the Cactus Cup.

"It's pretty special to play with him," David said. "He was telling me, it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, right? So let's make the best of it."

David scored twice, but was the team's second-leading scorer. That distinction went to sophomore forward Patrick Yudez who netted his first collegiate hat trick.

Yudez has had a slow start getting his feet back underneath after his injury, scoring only once and not recording an assist in nine games this season. He busted out in a big way Friday, scoring ASU's second, third and fifth goals of the night.

"I'm starting to feel really comfortable out there," Yudez said. "I'm just feeling more confident after being out so long. I got some good bounces. I was shooting the puck and it was going in."

ASU's domination of its rival is well-documented. Friday's win was the fifth this season, seventh in a row and 44th in the schools' last meetings.

The Sun Devils scored four goals in the first period and three in third. If not for the second period where coach Greg Powers said he was disappointed in the play, it was a perfect game of hockey.

Throw in the fact that six of ASU's top players are en route to Spain for the World University Games, and Friday's game may have been the finest of the season.

Sophomore goaltender Robert Levin has reached the point that a shutout is no longer front-page news. Friday was his eighth shutout of the season, matching his total from all of 2013-14, postseason included.

He may have made only 14 saves in the shutout, but a particular flurry in the third period was a few sensational saves away from a Wildcat goal.

With the Team USA players out, typical energy players were thrust into top forward minutes. Freshman Mak Barden scored the first goal of the game while junior Kory Chisholm had two assists and played well on the penalty kill. Division II call-up defenseman Liam Pues also saved a goal in the third on a back check to stop a breakaway.

"Get the job done," Powers said. "That's what these guys did tonight."

ASU returns Saturday night for the final home game of the season against Arizona. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Oceanside Ice Arena.

Three stars (selected by media):

Third star: David Norris, forward, Arizona State. Two goals, assist.

Second star: Robert Levin, goaltender, Arizona State. Eighth shutout, 14 saves.

First star: Patrick Yudez, forward, Arizona State. Hat trick.