Prior to the game, with the crowd on its feet and both teams in horizontal lines across the ice, the lights went off and something seemed different.
“O Canada” was beautifully rendered from the speakers for the first time all season, letting Oceanside Ice Arena know the True North’s Simon Fraser was in the house.
The Clan, representing the British Columbia International Hockey League (BCIHL), boasted a 15-3-0-2 record, wore crimson red jerseys precisely the color of Canada’s national team and had a roster comprised of 28 players all from the Great White North.
But the garb, the record and the team from hockey’s mother country weren’t even close to beating the Sun Devils (11-19-3) as ASU drowned the Clan (15-4-0-2) with goals, 8-1.
“It doesn’t matter who you play, you have to show up and play the same way,” said ASU coach Greg Powers. “It doesn’t matter if you are playing Simon Fraser or Western Michigan, you have to play to your identity and our guys did tonight.”
It wasn’t the first time the Sun Devils played the Clan. Powers’ unit traveled to Burnaby, B.C. in 2012. Back then, the Sun Devils — still just an ACHA club team — were victorious 5-3.
“I absolutely remember it,” Powers said. “(They’re) not used to losing and I’m sure they’re going to go back and not be happy about what happened here tonight and come out really hard tomorrow.”
And losing absolutely doesn’t come often for the Clan. They’ve only lost three times this season and hadn’t lost since Jan. 19, when SFU fell to Trinity Western University 2-1 in a shootout.
Much of the reason for why the Clan lost was Sun Devil freshman Defenseman Brinson Pasichnuk. Not only did he log two assists, but ended his night scoring three goals to earn a hat trick.
“Felt pretty good,” Pasichnuk said. “That hasn’t happened this year yet, so when it happened tonight I was pretty excited.”
Arizona State outshot Simon Fraser 42-20 and converted two power-play goals on four chances.
Though Pasichnuk’s hat trick came from his two third-period goals and one in the first, it was the Maroon and Gold’s five-goal second period that blew out the Clan.
“We weren’t flustered. We had a couple really good chances we didn’t convert on and we knew it would come. Just had to wear them down and thought one or two would become four or five and that’s what happened,” Powers said.
Only a freshman, Pasichnuk has surely progressed, and the NCAA Divison I Sun Devils have as well. The once 1-8 Sun Devils are now 10-19-3, having defeated ranked teams and even trounced non-NCAA opponents.
Pasichnuk took a moment to look back on what a wild ride this season has been.
“It’s been mind blowing honestly,” Pasichnuk said on ASU’s progression. “Coming in after Christmas and beating the ranked teams it’s been really incredible and a great thing to build off for next year, and we’re all really excited about it.”
In goal was Robert Levin, who’s one of four seniors on the team. Even though he didn’t have to do much, he still had a solid performance saving 19 of 20 shots in his second-to-last game at Oceanside Ice Arena.
“He was sharp and he’ll go again tomorrow on senior night, and end his career hopefully the same way we played tonight,” Powers said.
On Saturday night, Arizona State eyes its second home sweep of the season and has a shot to send its seniors off on a good note. Puck will drop at 7:05 p.m from Oceanside in Tempe.