Trailing by one goal entering the third period, No. 15 Arizona State (15-7-1) stormed back to score four unanswered goals to beat Boston College (6-8-2) on Friday night at Oceanside Ice Arena.
Freshman forward PJ Marrocco scored the game-winner for the Devils to make the score 3-2, and senior forward Anthony Croston would tie the game at the 11:54 mark of the third period on a wrap around goal that slid past the goal line.
“We had to stick with it. We were playing really well,” head coach Greg Powers said. “They played well too. It could have gone either way with that game...We stuck with it, and Cro (Croston) got a dirty one, and PJ went to the net and got a game-winner. We’ll take it. That’s a heck of a win.”
As Powers noted, Friday’s contest wasn’t exactly one-sided either way. Both teams showed up from the get-go. Boston College outshot ASU 37-34, and the Golden Eagles put together a solid performance that just fell short.
The 5-2 final also isn’t too indicative of the game itself, as the score was 3-2 ASU, but the Devils added two late empty net goals to eventually pull away in the last two minutes of the game.
Every from tonight's 5-2 comeback victory over Boston College! pic.twitter.com/Vkp0suhXI9— Sun Devil Hockey (@SunDevilHockey) January 5, 2019
After a scoreless opening frame, BC senior forward JD Dudek was able to break open the scoring. ASU senior forward Dylan Hollman responded with a shorthanded goal to knot the game at one, but BC would answer again with a goal to put them up 2-1 going into the second intermission.
In the final 20 minutes, ASU rallied with the goal from Croston, thus marking the second weekend in a row that the Devils came back from down a goal.
“We know when we are down a goal or something, we got to play our game,” Croston said. “We have a character team, and we have all the right guys. We don’t have a problem coming out with a one-goal deficit and coming back.”
Croston would later ice the game away on one of ASU’s two empty net goals. But before he could do that, the Devils needed to break the stalemate, and they did so with under two minutes remaining.
With just under 1:40 left in the game, BC turned the puck over behind its own net. Redshirt freshman forward Austin Lemieux corralled the turnover and tossed a pass up to junior forward Brett Gruber.
Gruber put the puck on goal, and it was initially saved by BC junior goaltender Joseph Woll. However, he couldn’t control the rebound, and parked to the side of the netminder was Marrocco. He proceeded to tap home the loose puck on the rebound, and it nearly blew the low-hanging roof off a sold out Oceanside Arena.
“It was a hard-working shift. I kind of blacked out a little bit there,” Marrocco said. “I was just going to the net, and I had been watching Cro and Hollman all night go to the net, and I knew I had to get a dirty one (goal).”
Croston added his empty-netter, and freshman defenseman Jarrod Gourley then got a friendly carom on a chip off the glass. The chip ended up rolling all the way down the ice and into the goal, putting the finishing touches on a 5-2 victory.
In a game where both teams came to play, ASU found itself on the right side of the battle. Both Woll and ASU junior goaltender Joey Daccord made big saves at given moments, and the teams competed for a full 60 minutes.
Following the game, 25-year BC coach Jerry York even had some things to say about ASU and its team this season after a hard-fought game.
“They’ve taken incredible strides,” said York of ASU. “We are always trying to grow college hockey, at least we should be, and once that new rink is built, certainly as a Hockey East member, we have to be looking at ASU as a possible bid for us...What’s not to like about a major, power-five team with hockey? I think more power-five teams that get involved, the better for all of us.”
When asked if ASU had the looks of a team ready to play in an NCAA tournament, York responded with just one word.
ASU will look for the sweep on Saturday against BC at Gila River Arena.