TUCSON, Ariz.– At this point, it's developing into routine.
Step 1: Sun Devils enter Tucson. Step 2: Sun Devils win.
For the 46th time in the last 47 meeting, ASU hockey bested its main rival Arizona, this time doing so by a 5-3 score Friday night. It's the ninth consecutive victory for the maroon and gold, dating back to last season.
It didn't start as well as ASU would have hoped, with the Wildcats heading back to the locker room after the first period with a 2-0 lead. ASU coach Greg Powers remained calm, undoubtably calling upon the history, winning 97.9 percent of the time.
"I wasn't worried one bit," Powers said. "Theres nothing wrong with facing a little adversity. They have everything in the world to play for in these two games. We knew we'd get their best effort."
Once the second period started, ASU rewarded Powers' trust. Just 2:21 into the frame, Liam Norris slid one through the five-hole from the slot and put the Sun Devils on the board. Not even four minutes later, Coda Engbar found himself all alone in front of the net and delivered both the second goal of the game and his second of the season.
Kyle Bowen added a third on a partial break four minutes later. Arizona would not regain the lead in the game.
"We knew we had it still," Liam Norris said on his team's mentality after the first period. "A couple of turnovers on the blue, but we thought we outplayed them."
Liam lined with his brother David and Eric Rivard Friday night, the same line since the Liam-Rivard-Sean Murphy line was broken up when Murphy went to the World University Games. Not only have the Norris brothers been feeding off each other, but complementing Rivard as well.
Rivard had the game-winning goal in the third period and leads the team with 22 on the season.
The third period gave Arizona its best chance at a comeback. ASU led 4-3 and took two penalties just 34 seconds apart giving the Wildcats 1:26 of a 5-on-3 power play. Arizona was not able to sustain any sort of offense and the opportunity washed away.
"I think that crushed them," Powers said.
Shortly after that, David Norris bookended the scoring of the Norris brothers, with Liam opening the goal-scoring and David ending it. David passed to Liam on the power play who gave it back to David, who beat Arizona's goalie top shelf.
"We got a lot of momentum from that," David said. "Once we killed that off, you could really tell momentum was back in our corner."
Saturday is the last game of the regular for both squads where ASU will look to add a third step to their routine. Step 1: Sun Devils enter Tucson. Step 2: Sun Devils win.
Step 3: Sun Devils leave.
Puck drops at 7:30 p.m. at Tucson Convention Center.