For the third consecutive game, No. 20 Arizona State (3-6-1) suffered a heart-breaking loss at the hands of a Big Ten opponent.
Up three goals at two different points, the Sun Devils ended up falling 5-4 in overtime at Penn State (3-5). It was the second straight day that ASU sustained a sudden death, OT defeat.
During the three-on-three extra time, Connor McMenamin buried a wrist shot that was similar to the game-winner on Friday night. It came on an odd-man rush and was on the blocker side.
Déjà vu anyone?!?!— Penn State Men’s Hockey (@PennStateMHKY) December 13, 2020
The Connor's had themselves a weekend!!#WeAre #HockeyValley pic.twitter.com/JgZ0Q4ME6E
What could be even more frustrating for the Sun Devils was how the Nittany Lions clawed their way back. Less than five minutes into the first period, ASU got out to an ideal start.
Jax Murray, Benji Eckerle, and James Sanchez all netted goals within a minute and nine seconds to put the team right in the driver’s seat.
Penn State responded with a goal, but then ASU got right back to it, as forward Willie Knierim slammed home a loose rebound on the man advantage to give life on a previously struggling power play unit to make the score 4-1.
Dirty areas ➡️ Rewarded #Hockey101 pic.twitter.com/GWomY8bSss— Sun Devil Hockey (@SunDevilHockey) December 13, 2020
The Nittany Lions would put the foot on the gas from there, though. Off a Sun Devil turnover at the blue line, Penn State churned out an odd-man rush and Alex Limoges got rewarded with a goal late in the opening frame.
That would set the stage for the second period, where PSU tilted the ice and tied the game in less than five minutes coming out of the locker room.
ASU would settle down and generate a variety of great looks in the third period, but it came to no avail as goaltender Liam Souliere made a plethora of big stops, including a few on breakaways in the final 20 minutes.
The rest would be history with the Nittany Lion OT winner. The Sun Devils were out shot 45-40, and one of the more glaring stats came in the dots. ASU lost the face-off battle 47-27.
It was a rollercoaster of a series, with both teams exchanging goals, shots, leads, and momentum shifts throughout.
But in the end, the Devils found themselves on the wrong end of the stick and now back at three games under .500, despite playing better hockey compared to the beginning of the season.
Up next, ASU closes out its 36-day road trek with a long bus ride to Columbus to take on Ohio State next weekend for a two-game series before the holiday break.