No. 13 Arizona State (16-9-3) was thrown into an early hole. No. 8 Clarkson (17-6-2) had put up two goals in less than three minutes.
Not even 10 minutes into the first period, the Sun Devils found themselves trailing 2-0. It would be an uphill battle from there, but that wouldn’t faze ASU.
In comeback fashion, the Devils’ rallied against a top-10 opponent, earning a 3-2 overtime victory that was capped off by a game-winning goal from senior forward Tyler Busch.
Postgame comments from @asucoachpowers. pic.twitter.com/GInLNDfTYo— Sun Devil Hockey (@SunDevilHockey) January 26, 2020
As noted above, the comeback effort didn’t come easy. The Golden Knights’ first two goals came in a hurry. First, freshman defenseman Dustyn McFaul had a wrap around goal at the 5:54 mark, then senior forward Haralds Egle redirected a shot from the point that found its way in.
Clarkson was in complete control and they had dominated zone time and the shot counter. However, following the second strike, ASU seemed to have the alarm clock sound off.
The Sun Devils put forth a few strong shifts, and that led to their first goal of the night when sophomore forward PJ Marrocco tipped a shot from the point that came off the stick of sophomore defenseman Jarrod Gourley.
The tipped goal made things 2-1, and ASU nearly tied the game in the final minute of the period as well.
They had a disallowed goal after a crashed net. Nonetheless, the push back was there, and after a troublesome 10 minutes to open things up, the back half of the period seemed to favor the Sun Devils.
That momentum carried into the second when senior forward Brett Gruber lit the lamp to tie the score at two.
On the goal-scoring shift, a borderline icing call was waved off in the ASU zone, and the Sun Devils were able to take advantage. They earned possession of the puck, and Gruber wheeled around the back of the net.
He got a soft pick from 6-foot-4 junior forward Willie Knierim, and that allowed Gruber to find space for a shooting lane. From a tight angle, the fourth-year skater fired a low wrister that beat Clarkson senior goaltender Frank Marotte.
That knotted it up at two, and both teams would remain even up until overtime. For the second consecutive game, both sides didn’t register a third period goal and the intensity increased as the game went along.
In OT is when the Sun Devils put things away, though. On a shot from the point, senior defenseman Brinson Pasichnuk fired a slap shot. The puck hit the left pad of Marotte and it sat and died right to the side of the netminder.
From there, Busch was able to clean up the trash. He outmuscled his defender and tapped the puck into an empty cage.
ASU had pulled off the comeback thriller, and they returned the favor of an overtime win after Clarkson had defeated the Sun Devils the night prior in sudden-death fashion.
Saturday’s are for ALL @TheSunDevils! #O2V pic.twitter.com/D1fxCZdENl— Sun Devil Hockey (@SunDevilHockey) January 26, 2020
The victory was pivotal for a variety of reasons, but most notably it will help with the Devils’ postseason outlook in the PairWise rankings. Additionally, it might have been ASU’s biggest win on its resume.
While home ice victories against then No. 9 Quinnipiac and No. 4 Denver stand out, the comeback road win in a hostile environment on the second night of a series will definitely bolster the Sun Devils’ chances of punching a postseason ticket.
Up next, ASU returns home for a series against Robert Morris next weekend.