If there was any doubt that this has been a new Arizona State team since 2018 began, the Sun Devils put that to rest tonight.
The Sun Devils (7-13-5) earned a tie against the Quinnipiac Bobcats (8-12-4) in game one of a two-game weekend series at Oceanside Ice Arena in Tempe, Ariz.
A team that played for an NCAA championship just a couple years ago, the Bobcats are not having the season they would hope for but are a force to be reckoned with nonetheless.
Much like both games of their series with UMass-Lowell, the game got off to a slow start in period one with neither team managing to find the back of the net.
The second period got off to a different start as the Sun Devils got a power play chance right off the bat, but it was the Bobcats who converted when they scored a short handed goal to take the games first lead.
“It was just carelessness and not competing,” coach Greg Powers said of his team’s power play performance. “Just because you have an extra guy doesn’t mean you can let up.”
From there, the Sun Devils had a good response — applying the majority of the pressure for the remainder of the period.
They would capitalize on their next power play chance when the red-hot Johnny Walker made a string of great moves and beat the Bobcat goalie five-hole to tie the game.
The Sun Devils kept that momentum rolling all the way to the end of the period.
With less than 10 seconds remaining in the period, Brinson Pasichnuk made a perfect saucer pass right to his big brother Steenn who promptly tapped it in, giving ASU its first lead of the night.
It’s been a long road back from injury and other issues off the ice for the older Pasichnuk, but it seems as though he has finally found his stride of late culminating with his goal in tonight’s game.
“The (back) injury set me back a bit,” Pasichnuk said of his journey back. “My game last weekend that felt good but it feels even better to come back tonight and score a goal and just help the team win.”
The Sun Devil lead didn’t last long, however.
Just seconds in to their third power play of the game, the Bobcats capitalized — tying the game at two and breaking the ASU penalty kill’s perfect run dating back to the Ice Vegas Invitational.
The game-tying goal gave Quinnipiac a huge boost that nearly propelled them to a victory in regulation.
With around six minutes left to play, the Bobcats appeared to score a goal on a broken play in front of Daccord in the ASU zone; however, after an official review it was ruled to be goal tender interference.
That was the closest the game got to being decided for the next 11 minutes as after 60 minutes of regulation play and a five minute overtime period, the score was locked at 2-2.
Following the five minute 5-on-5 overtime period, the game went to 3-on-3 for five minutes.
The added extra space created more chances for both teams, but it was ASU that eventually made the most of a chance.
After coming on for a change, Louie Rowe found himself wide open at the point where Jacob Wilson got him the puck. Rowe wound up and blasted on past the goalie to give the Sun Devils an unofficial 3-2 win.
“Are we content with a tie? No,” coach Powers said. “But that’s a good effort against a very good hockey team and we’ll take it.”
The finale of the series will take place Saturday night at 7:05 MST but from Gila River Arena as the Sun Devils will look to finish the job in 65 minutes or less.