In the record books, Arizona State’s exciting 3-2 shootout win against No. 10 Ohio State counts as a 2-2 tie, but from the looks of Sun Devil players dog piling senior goalie Robert Levin, the Maroon and Gold clearly counted this one as a win.
Not only was the win in front of 5,295 in attendance at Value City Arena, but the Sun Devils’ (7-17-2) monumental victory was showcased on ESPNU where Arizona State was able to surprise one of the nation’s best on a national stage.
It’s a tremendous defeat for Sun Devils and a huge confidence booster going forward, but that was Saturday’s game.
Friday’s game went much differently.
After giving up four unanswered goals in the first 10 minutes of the game, Arizona State dug itself into the deepest of holes ending in a 6-1 loss to the Buckeyes (11-4-5).
Friday’s loss put the Sun Devils on a three-game skid. And after another loss by a such a wide margin, it was as a continuation of Arizona State’s woes from last weekend when the Sun Devils were swept (5-1, 6-1) in Denver.
But ASU still performed with a mass amount of effort.
In the midst of the 6-1 defeat, ASU was still statistically up to par with the Buckeyes. At the end of the game, the Sun Devils outshot OSU 36-33. And after the disastrous first period, Arizona State had just three penalties compared to Ohio State’s five, gave up only two more goals and outshot the Buckeyes 29-17.
The main issue of the slow start was that goalie play. ASU’s sophomore goalie Ryland Pashovitz wasn’t on his “A game,” and it was easily noticeable. On 10 shots, he allowed three goals in the first eight minutes of the game.
From then on, freshman Joey Daccord relieved for Pashovitz and gave up a goal each period of play. Daccord finished the night with 20 saves on three goals.
The lone goal recorded by the Sun Devils was on a power play as freshman defenseman Brinson Pasichnuk scored eight and a half minutes into the second period.
A demoralizing game one led to an unforgettable game two victory, but before Levin was mobbed in a celebratory dog pile, the Sun Devils were found in a hole once again.
Junior forward Wade Murphy scored his seventh goal of the season to put the Sun Devils up 1-0 in the middle of second period. Shortly after, two quick Ohio State goals near the end of the second period brought the Buckeyes ahead 2-1.
For 19 minutes and 34 seconds of the third period, Ohio State held on to its one goal lead.
Despite being the No. 10 team in the country, the Buckeyes were and still are in a playoff race, currently ranked fourth of the six teams in the Big Ten standings. With these circumstances in hand, a loss to first-year, Division I ASU wasn’t affordable, but freshman forward Tyler Busch thought otherwise.
Busch, the former Ohio State commit, rebounded sophomore defenseman Jakob Stridsburg’s slap shot into the net to tie the game at two a piece with just 26 seconds left in the game.
After the rest of the third period and five minutes of scoreless overtime, Busch’s goal was enough for the Sun Devils to tie, and even though it wouldn’t count on paper, beating Ohio State in a shootout would be the icing on the cake.
That’s exactly what happened.
Junior Wade Murphy netted the first shot of penalties, and from then on it was Levin in goal who did the rest.
Levin stopped all three Buckeyes from scoring a shootout goal putting the finishing touches on his amazing performance. The senior saved 22 of Ohio State’s 24 shots posting a .917 save percentage and the most notably, ended his night as the hero at the bottom of the Sun Devil dog pile.
The Maroon and Gold are allowed some breathing room after playing two top-10 teams two series in a row.
This weekend, Arizona State returns home to Oceanside Ice Arena for the first time in over seven weeks to square off against Southern New Hampshire (11-7) of the ACHA on Jan. 20 and 21. In late October of last season, the Sun Devils swept the Penmen 9-2 and 7-1 in Tempe.