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ASU Hockey: Sun Devils and Stony Brook square off for national title berth

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In a rematch of last year's semifinal game, ASU and Stony Brook will play to see who goes to the national championship game.

Nicole Vazquez

STRONGSVILLE, Ohio- The 2015 national championship semifinals will look a lot like the 2014 semifinals. At least from ASU's perspective.

ASU will meet No. 5 Stony Brook with a trip to the national championship game on the line, just like last year. The result went ASU's way in the first postseason matchup, a 4-3 win to set up its title game appearance.

Stony Brook's quarterfinal matchup may go down as the best of the tournament. An instant classic, Stony Brook scored with an empty net with 31 seconds left to tie the game, then scored the game-winning goal with six seconds remaining.

Minot State had its chance, hitting the inside of the post with under a minute to play. It bore a striking resemblance to the USA-Canada women's Olympic gold medal game from 2014. Stony Brook collected the missed shot and tied the game before winning it seconds later.

Stony Brook will be tasked against ASU with matching the intensity from the quarterfinals. Both Stony Brook and Robert Morris played every shift with maximum intensity, and it was almost a shame that one team had to lose. But Stony Brook is still alive, and is the only thing that stands between ASU and a second title game in as many years.

The Sun Devils played a disciplined quarterfinal game, and with the exception of a Connor Schmidt turnover and subsequent penalty, did not make too many mistakes. ASU came out hot and scored three goals in the first 13 minutes to deflate Lindenwood, and doing so again could be enough to get past Stony Brook.

Across the board, the Seawolves are dangerous and are arguably the best team in the tournament. Vincent Lopes leads the team with 25 goals and 34 assists and scored the game-winner Sunday. He is one of four players who have notched at least 46 points this season.

In goal, the Seawolves have used two different goalies for their first two games. Brendan Jones shutout Rhode Island Saturday, then it was Derek Wilms who defended the net against Robert Morris.

The two split time during the regular season - Wilms played 17 games and Jones 15 - but Wilms had the better season. Willis recorded a 15-2-0 record with a 1.47 goals against average, .951 save percentage and five shutouts.

For the Sun Devils, Lucas Felbel has been everything they needed him to be. He looked sharp in both games, allowing only three total goals with a .935 save percentage. They scored 11 goals so far, with seven coming from the top line of Liam Norris, David Norris and Eric Rivard. The three have 19 total points between them.

This is ASU's third trip to the national semifinals and the third in the last three years. The Sun Devils lost to Lindenwood in 2013 then beat Stony Brook last year. Since coach Greg Powers took over in 2011, the team is 7-3 in tournament play.

The puck drops at 2 p.m. Arizona time, 5 p.m. local time at OBM Arena in Strongsville, Ohio. The winner will play in the national title game against either Central Oklahoma or Minot State at 4 p.m. Arizona time Tuesday.