After just two wins in their first 13 games against 12 ranked opponents this season, the Sun Devils have cultivated five wins in their last seven games. Most recently, Arizona State (7-13) has won three in a row.
The Sun Devils began their Massachusetts winning-spree with a 3-2 victory over the American International College Yellow Jackets (3-9-6) in which Arizona State didn’t trail once. The Maroon and Gold hit the road 23 miles north to Amherst where Arizona State earned two 4-1 defeats over the Massachusetts Minutemen (4-12-2).
This is the longest win streak the Sun Devils have had this season (3) and marked their first sweep of the year.
Takeaways from this week’s three-win fiesta:
No first-string goalie, no problem
All season long, coach Greg powers has juggled three starting goalies.
Sophomore Ryland Pashovitz was 2-1 in his last three starts with wins against Rensselaer Poly and Colgate heading into the road trip. But it wasn’t enough to impress Powers. While he sat the bench the entire week, freshman Joey Daccord and senior Robert Levin got starting nods.
Daccord, who has played the most minutes (404) of the goalie trio, started the first game of the week against AIC. He saved 20 of 22 shots posting a .864 save percentage and earned his second win of the season in the 3-2 victory. It was his first win since the Sun Devils defeated then-No. 18 Air Force 5-2 on Oct. 16.
Levin, who played the least amount of minutes (337), started both games in the Massachusetts sweep. He gave up only a goal in both games recording an impressive .962 save percentage. Of the three goalies, Levin looks the most impressive at the moment, but in the mind of Powers, any of them could end up in the net next game.
Shaky special teams still does the trick
The Sun Devils came into their road trip with the 6th worst power play percentage in the nation and couldn’t even break the top-47 teams in the country with a .800 penalty kill or above.
In Massachusetts, Arizona State went 2-7 on power plays, posting a .286 percentage, which is over 100 points higher than its season average of .110.
But even with success on power plays, the team still had some
irritating turnovers. They managed four penalties compared to AIC’s two and totaled six in two games against UMass. Fortunately for the Sun Devils, ASU let in just one goal on ten power plays.
David Norris has skills, especially in Massachusetts
After sitting out an entire season, the American International transfer returned to the Ice in 2016-17 and even got the chance to play against his former teammates. Norris, the red shirt junior, slipped a goal past his former yellow jacket teammate junior Alex Murray in what was eventually the game winning goal six minutes into the third period.
Norris netted his second goal of the week, scoring the final goal of the Sun Devils’ first 4-1 victory over the Minutemen. The next day, he continued his hot-streak tallying two assists on ASU’s second and fourth goals in game two against UMass.
Up Next: Desert Hockey Classic
Arizona State looks to continue its December success when it returns to Arizona to compete in the 5,100-seat Prescott Valley Event Center against Brown (3-9) on December 30 and then either No. 18 St. Cloud State (8-7-1) or Connecticut (6-6-6) on Dec. 31.