After a penalty-filled and disappointing 5-2 Friday night result, the Sun Devils (10-18-2) bounced back a day later for a 4-2 win over NCAA hockey powerhouse No. 17 Quinnipiac (14-11-2).
Not only was it the highest ranked win for Arizona State (previously No. 18 Air Force), but the Sun Devils took down the Bobcats who skated to last season’s NCAA championship game.
The Maroon and Gold have now won three of its last four games outscoring opponents 21-8 in that stretch.
But first and foremost, it was an ugly start to the series for Arizona State.
Everything clicked for ASU going into Connecticut. They had just swept Southern New Hampshire by a wide margin (15-1) and were still riding the confidence of a 2-2 tie against then-No. 10 Ohio State.
But what was the most assuring component of the successful Sun Devils was their senior goalie Robert Levin. He held the Ohio State to two goals and earned an unofficial win shutting OSU out in penalties. Then, against SNHU, Levin held the Penmen to one goal over 120 minutes.
But from the get go, the ruthless Bobcats took it to the Sun Devils early.
On the 57 shots Quinnipiac pounded towards Levin, the Bobcats scored five times. Arizona State trailed 2-0 in the first period, 3-0 in the second, and then trailed 4-0 just 38 seconds into period three.
From there, junior Wade Murphy and sophomore Jack Rowe netted goals for the Sun Devils and Chase Priskie of Qunnipiac scored once between the two.
Of the Bobcat’s five goals, three were on power plays as QU enjoyed 11 power plays on the night. Twenty-two of their 57 shots were up a man.
The Sun Devils took no waiting to score early in this one.
On two scores from sophomore Anthony Croston and a power play goal from freshman Brinson Pasichnuk, Arizona State found itself up 3-0 in the first 20:22 of the game.
The Sun Devils were able to build a lead, and freshman goalie Joey Daccord helped secure the lead even with facign 55 shots from the Bobcats. It was his first start in goal since Dec. 31 against then-No.18 St. Cloud State. In this performance, he had a career high 53 saves with an impeccable .964 save percentage.
The Bobcats did strike twice against Daccord with goals from senior Tim Clifton in the second period and senior Connor Clifton in the third. Arizona State’s Jakob Stridsburg scored 18:38 into period two.
With a simple look at the stat sheet, Arizona State’s 4-2 win looks as a complete shock to anyone.
The Sun Devils had four power play play chances compared to the Bobcats’ eight, were demolished in shots 55-19 and were more than doubled in the face off battle 47-21.
But efficiency in shots and heroic goaltending gave Arizona State the win.
Kalamazoo, MI will be the home of Arizona State’s 20th, 21st and final contests against ranked programs this season. The No. 10 Western Michigan Broncos (14-7-3) will be riding off a series split against Miami (Ohio) as they host the Sun Devils on Feb. 3 and Feb. 4. The puck will drop at 5 p.m. MST in both contests.