Arizona State (7-4-1) was up 2-0 on Saturday night in the second period, but couldn’t hold onto a lead against Vermont (1-8-2). The Sun Devils eventually came to a 2-2 tie after 60 minutes of play and a five-minute overtime period.
In the first period, freshman defenseman Jack Judson registered a goal on assists from senior forward Brett Gruber and sophomore forward PJ Marrocco. Judson tapped one home after jumping on the rush and finishing on the back post.
It's a pretty one, boys pic.twitter.com/HW8AGtBFyW— Sun Devil Hockey (@SunDevilHockey) December 1, 2019
Then in the second, sophomore forward Austin Lemieux redirected a shot from Judson to give the Devils’ a 2-0 advantage with just about 13 minutes left to play. ASU was in the drivers seat down the home stretch.
However, the Catamounts wouldn’t go away. First, Vermont junior forward Ace Cowans put one home in the second period on the power play to cut the 2-0 Sun Devil advantage in half. It was Cowans’ second goal in as many games, as he also registered last night’s lone goal in a defeat.
Then at the 16:36 mark of the second frame, Catamount junior forward Vlad Dzhioshvili knotted things at two with a second power play goal.
In Friday’s 2-1 victory, the Sun Devil penalty kill came up big. But as much as it saved them the night prior, it proved to be their enemy on Saturday.
In the final 20 minutes, both teams held scoreless, and that set the stage for a wild 4-on-4, five minute overtime.
During OT, ASU appeared to win the game in sudden death fashion. Junior forward Willie Knierim split the Vermont defensemen as he received a pass in the neutral zone.
He got in on senior goaltender Stefanos Lekkas, and Knierim deked to his backhand. The initial shot was saved, but the Sun Devil power forward stayed parked in front of the net. He tried to clean up the loose rebound, and it appeared to just cross the goal line as a mad scramble occurred.
The net was knocked off the goal line in the process, but the referee signaled for a good goal. ASU celebrated.
However, an initial review took place, and it was deemed that the net was off just prior to the puck crossing the goal line. On the drive to the goal, Knierim was also hooked.
Thus, although the goal didn’t stand, the Sun Devils still had an opportunity on the power play.
They generated a few grade-A looks, but Lekkas stood tall and his teammates in front of him blocked a variety of shots. The score would hold at 2-2, and ASU would have to be content with a tie in what was nearly a victorious occasion.
Following the bittersweet game, the team will now get back to work with bigger things ahead. No. 4 Denver comes to town next weekend for a pivotal series on Dec. 6 and 7.