clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

ASU Hockey: Coach Greg Powers' top-5 wins and losses

We sat down with ASU head hockey coach Greg Powers and he listed his most memorable wins and most crushing losses.

Courtney Pedroza/House of Sparky

With ASU's jump up to Division I hockey next season, coach Greg Powers finished his ACHA coaching career with a 164-27-9 record, including 8-4 in the postseason. We sat down with him Tuesday where he ranked the biggest wins and worse losses in his career.

Top five most crushing losses

5. Lindenwood– 2013 national tournament semifinals

ASU entered the 2013 tournament as the No. 2 seed. When top-seeded Adrian fell, the Sun Devils saw a golden opportunity. They got by Rutgers and Illinois then fell to Lindenwood, a game had they won would have sent them to the program's first national title game.

ASU went down 4-1 in the first period, then stormed back to tie it at 4-4 after the second. ASU had all the momentum, but a soft goal 30 seconds in but Lindenwood up one and another seven minutes later but it out of hand.

"You could just hear the air go out of our bench," Powers said. "That was a tough one."

4. Stony Brook– 2015 national tournament semifinals

ASU has gone into the tournament twice with the top seed, winning in 2014. In 2015, the magic ran out. ASU was making the Division I move and was eyeing the repeat titles.

The Sun Devils ran through Colorado and Lindenwood in the first two rounds, then dropped a 2-1 decision to Stony Brook. The top team in the tournament went home with nothing to show for it.

"We ran into a hot goalie and Stony Brook played us really well," Powers said. "To go out knowing you had the best team and didn't get the job done will probably always sting a little bit."

3. Oklahoma– 2011 national tournament first round

This was Powers' first national tournament as head coach, and it came what was possibly a blown call away from being his first win. ASU trailed by a goal in the final seconds and scored, only to have the goal disallowed.

Multiple ACHA officials, not just at ASU, have told Powers then referees made the wrong call, but instead of going to overtime, ASU went home. Some ASU players could afford to change their flight, leaving the ones who couldn't to stay there

"It was just not fun," Powers said. "You want to be there playing, not watching and babysitting. Losing at nationals is never fun, especially early."

2. Oakland– 2012 national tournament first round

For the second year in a row, ASU went into the national tournament and got sent home after the first round. In 2012, though, ASU had dreams of a title. Powers admitted the team wasn't ready after 2011, but hoped to make noise in 2012.

Then the Sun Devils ran into Oakland, who got hot at the perfect time. Oakland entered as the No. 13 seed and booted the No. 4 Sun Devils. Oakland also went onto upset No. 1 Penn State before falling in the national title game.

"It was a really, really tough pill to swallow," Powers said. "We were one and done. Two years in a row, my first two seasons as head coach, to go there and get bounced in the first round, you start to question yourself. You start to wonder."

1. Arizona– 2013-14 senior night

Powers said that the thing he is most proud of in his ACHA career is not winning a national tournament or becoming a perennial power, but dominating Arizona. Powers went 39-1-0 in his career, but he considers that one the worst loss of his career.

It was Senior Night and ASU was 32-1-0 on the season with three to play. This senior class was special to Powers as it was his first one he recruited as a head coach. So when the Wildcats upset the Sun Devils 2-1, it was crushing.

"I really wanted to see them get through their careers never losing to UA," Powers said. "That stung to see them lose, but the fact it was their last home game, seeing those kids go through that, it really sucked."

Top five most memorable wins

5. Rutgers– 2013 national tournament first round

After the Oakland loss in 2012, Powers was getting desperate for a win. So when his Sun Devils took on Rutgers and only led 1-0 after the first period, the team was getting nervous. But when a clearly better ASU team started pulling away, it finally got Powers that elusive first win.

ASU also beat Illinois that tournament before falling in the semifinals.

"That was a big monkey-off-the-back win," Powers said. "It was just a big, big weight off all our shoulders to get that win."

4. Lindenwood– 2011-12 regular season

Lindenwood spent the better part of a decade as the premier team in the ACHA. It had won two of the last three championships and lost the title game of the won it didn't win in overtime.

In Powers' first season as an assistant coach, the head coach did not make the Lindenwood trip, making it Powers' first game at the helm in his career. Lindenwood won 15-1 that game, so when Powers and ASU got its rematch during the 2011-12 season and won, it put ASU on the map.

"I had always viewed Lindenwood as the top of the mountain," Powers said. "It told everyone we had arrived. I remember after the game their coach was saying you're there. You're officially a contender."

3. Penn State– 2012-13 regular season

In 2012, Penn State competed in the NCAA after years of being an ACHA powerhouse. The school played a hybrid year the first season, and scheduled a two-game set at home with ASU.

Penn State won the first night, then the Sun Devils pulled the biggest upset in program history out the second night. It opened the door for all kinds of recruiting, and the next season's recruiting class was the best in school history. It was the first time ASU had ever beaten an NCAA team.

"People may think winning a national championship was what got everyone's attention but it was really that win at Penn State," Powers said. "I think it made people within our hockey community in the Valley and University finally take us seriously."

2. Robert Morris– 2014 national tournament finals

What is objectively the biggest win in ASU's ACHA history, the 3-1 victory on a Tuesday night in Delaware won ASU its first national championship. The seniors were Powers' first recruiting class and got to graduate as champions.

ASU capitalized on its national championship with a high-end recruiting class. By the end of the year, the team featured three former NCAA players and the Sun Devils spent nearly all of 2014-15 as the No. 1-ranked team in the nation.

"My goal when I accepted the head coaching position was to turn ASU into the perennial model program in the ACHA," Powers said. "In order to be a model program, you have to win a national championship."

1. Arizona– 2010-11 regular season

"I'm proud of a lot of things we did here during our ACHA tenure," Powers said. "But the biggest thing I'm proud of, it's not winning a championship, it's our utter and complete domination over Arizona."

ASU opened the 2010-11 season at home against Arizona, Powers' first season as head coach. He had been an assistant for two years under a head coach who was an Arizona graduate. ASU had completed its first season sweep the year before and Arizona fans were hostile towards Powers while ASU fans were skeptical of what he could do it. ASU won that first game, and proceeded to win 39 of 40 games against Arizona with Powers at the helm. It was his first career win, his first rivalry win, and the start of a dominating streak.

"It's been a lot of fun just completely owning them," Powers said. "Hopefully one day they'll go NCAA so we can continue it."