No. 15 Arizona State (13-8-3) had just given up a third goal in less than five minutes.
Starting goaltender Evan DeBrouwer was pulled from the game, and the Sun Devils had their backs against the wall as they tried to avoid a seventh consecutive series without a sweep.
However, in that moment is when ASU came together. Down three, the team rallied to score four consecutive goals to secure a 4-3 overtime victory against Brown (3-14). The Sun Devils avoided an upset from the Bears.
The series sweep was the first time since early November against No. 9 Quinnipiac that ASU had won two consecutive games in a weekend.
@asucoachpowers shares his thoughts after the sweep pic.twitter.com/1qeI2Iy3jf— Sun Devil Hockey (@SunDevilHockey) January 13, 2020
The three-goal comeback started in the second period. After a sluggish first period and allowing three goals in the second frame, head coach Greg Powers elected to go with Max Prawdzik to try and shake things up.
Instead of being rattled by the three-goal margin to make up, ASU found its game thanks to a couple of plays that were made by their upperclassmen leaders.
First, senior defenseman Brinson Pasichnuk unloaded on a hard shot that beat Bears senior goaltender Gavin Nieto on the blocker side, making the score 3-1 at the 10:46 mark of the second period.
Going into the final 20 minutes, ASU needed a big push to try and avoid a devastating loss to their postseason aspirations.
Coming out of the locker room, the team responded once more. Less than two minutes into the final frame, junior forward Johnny Walker intercepted a d-to-d pass at the Brown blue line.
He got out on a breakaway and was one-on-one with Nieto. Walker deked, then slid a shot past the goal line to turn things quickly into a one-goal game off of a Brown miscue.
Walker wasn’t done with the third period heroics, though. Just over four minutes later, he tied things up with a toe drag and snap shot that beat Nieto up high. Suddenly, ASU found themselves in a tie hockey game with more than enough time to try and win in regulation.
Both sides continued to push, and it appeared ASU was given a big opportunity with just under 10 minutes remaining in the third.
Freshman defenseman Jack Judson, who was given a game misconduct the night prior for an open ice hit, had the favor returned to him by Brown freshman forward Nathan Plessis.
Plessis leveled Judson near the blue line, and he caught him up high with an elbow. Just as Judson was ejected the night prior, Plessis was given the same diagnosis. ASU would go on a five-minute power play at a critical juncture in the game.
However, the man advantage would result in no goals and it would be shortened to 4-on-4 play after ASU sophomore forward Austin Lemieux was assessed a slashing minor in the middle of the five-minute major.
Both teams killed off its respective penalties, and that would force things to sudden death overtime. With five minutes to play, the Sun Devils provided OT heroics courtesy of sophomore defenseman Josh Maniscalco and sophomore forward Demetrios Koumontzis.
At the 3:34 mark, Koumontzis picked up a puck near the offensive blue line. He maneuvered his way around a Brown defender then darted down the right wing with Maniscalco to his left.
There was one Bears defender in between the two players, and Koumontzis was able to set up Maniscalco with a feed in front of the net. With Nieto sprawling, the Sun Devil defenseman buried the puck into a nearly wide open net, giving the team the victory.
✅ First time in program history rallying from 3+ goal deficit to win. pic.twitter.com/HVcwP8uYFd— Sun Devil Hockey (@SunDevilHockey) January 13, 2020
More important than the win was the series sweep in the broad scheme of things. Brown, who was on an eight-game losing streak coming into the weekend, was a team that ASU needed to sweep if it wanted any chance at postseason contention.
A loss in either game could have been very costly in the PairWise rankings, yet the Devils still found a way to get the job done. Despite a lethargic start, they made up for it with late-game heroics.
It might not have been the most complete effort of the season, but it still resulted in two victories, and the team will now come home for two games against the Rochester Institute of Technology next weekend.