TUCSON, Ariz.– Eight straight this season. Ten dating back to last season. Forty-seven of the last 48. ASU has made a habit of beating Arizona at hockey. Saturday night added to that, with the Sun Devils coming up on the winning end of a 2-0 score.
"You don't want to ever take it for granted," coach Greg Powers said. "Hats off to them, they played about as well as they could have."
Tied at zero in the third period, the game started to bear an eerie resemblance to ASU's senior night last season, when Arizona stuck around just long enough to upset the No. 1 Sun Devils. Saturday, Connor Mailey had other ideas.
Just past the midway point in the third period, Michael Cummings threw the puck at the net, but Arizona goaltender Garrett Patrick easily deflected it away. Unfortunately for Patrick, it deflected right to Mailey on the left wing side, who hurled it past the sprawling goalie for his sixth of the season.
"It was a monkey off my back, it's nice to help out for the boys," Mailey said. "It was a good adversity game for us, this whole weekend was. We went through some battles and we ended up coming through and winning both games."
Mailey's goal let the air out of the building. And any that remained left when Jordan Young launched a point shot a short while later that deflected off a Wildcat and into the net.
It was 2-0 then, and Arizona was not able to recover.
"There was no panic in the room, there was no panic on the bench," Powers said. "We knew that if we just stuck to what we were doing, we would wear them down and we did."
Sophomore goaltender Robert Levin was tremendous in net, blocking all 31 shots to come his way. The shutout was his ninth of the season, a career-high. He had eight last season including the postseason.
"Everybody in front of me kept things simple," Levin said. "Just a team effort. I have nine but that's because if the team, not because of me."
Levin gave his bench a scare in the third period when he went down after a saving, holding his right leg. He said his knee popped in the second period and aggravated it in the third.
He stayed in the game and said he expects to feel no lasting effects.
The win clinched a season sweep of the Wildcats, the fifth time in the last six years ASU did not lose any of the eight meetings between the two.
With ASU's move to NCAA Division I next season, Saturday marked the last meeting between the rivals as ACHA schools. Barring a trip to Tucson Convention Center next season, Powers will finish his career as a head coach having never lost in Tucson.