Fists were thrown, bodies were belted into boards, skates flew off the ice and at some point it felt like watching Simon Fraser vs. Arizona State, UFC edition.
Whether it was in-game action or after the whistle, a few Sun Devil seniors seriously left their mark on Senior Night.
Arizona State (12-19-3) ended its home season with a 4-2 win over Simon Fraser (15-5-0-2) on Saturday night.
“Good to get out with a win,” said ASU coach Greg Powers. “We knew it would probably be a little chippy, I think they had to be to be competitive.”
Chippy grew to angry, pushy and then to an all-out war on the ice.
With Arizona State leading 4-2 and 1:44 left in the game, senior Drew Newmeyer let his presence be known on his Senior Night when he body slammed a Simon Fraser player down to the ice amidst a flurry of three or four other skirmishes.
Newmeyer was then booted out of the game along with SFU’s Darnel St. Pierre and Sam Chatterley.
“I just couldn’t score, so I thought I would try something else,” Newmeyer said. “Maybe not the smartest thing to do, but it is what it is... I probably wouldn’t do that if we were losing. I probably shouldn’t have done it just being up two goals in the first place, but I think there’s a time and place for that kind of thing, so I just pulled the trigger.”
A Sun Devil senior who couldn’t score either, but did make his mark on the stat sheet was Robbie Baillargeon who recorded two assists.
Though the Boston University transfer only had one season with the Sun Devils, it was an impactful one as he finished the NCAA season tied for second best on the team with nine goals.
“It went by quick. I’d say too quick.” Baillargeon said. “If I’d pick one place to finish off my senior year it would be here and I don’t regret the decision at all to come here. It was probably one of the best years of my life playing hockey with this group of guys.”
The man in goal, senior Robert Levin, and Newmeyer were both dubbed by Powers as the “pioneers” of the program. In 2014, the two won the ACHA National Championship together as freshman and Levin was named MVP of the tournament.
On Saturday night, he ended his home career saving nine of Simon Fraser’s 11 shots.
Both Levin and Newmeyer reflected on their four-year journey together from the once-ACHA to now-NCAA Sun Devils.
“When we came in here I don’t even think we had a locker room our first week here... It was awesome to win a national championship. I think we all thought that was going to be the goal for four years,” Levin said.
Newmeyer didn’t see the Sun Devils going NCAA either, but definitely enjoyed it.
“It’s been crazy. Couldn’t ask for anything more. I think when we got here we didn’t expect anything of this to happen. Just the way everything worked out you couldn’t make it up. For me, I’m extremely lucky to be a part of this still. There were 15 guys who came with us and there’s just us two left,” Newmeyer said.
Aside from it being Senior Night, not a single soon-to-be graduate found the net.
Down 1-0 late in the first period, sophomores Anthony Croston and Jakob Stridsburg scored to put the Sun Devils ahead 2-1. Then, redshirt junior Wade Murphy and freshman Brett Gruber each added to the win on power play goals to put Arizona State up 4-1. Simon Fraser’s Daniell Lange cut the deficit to two with just over four minutes left in the contest, but the game ultimately ended at 4-2.
Arizona State will continue it’s exhibition schedule in Plymouth, Mich. as the Sun Devils face the United States U18 team on Feb. 24 and 25.