LAKE PLACID, NY — In February of 1980, the ice of Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, New York was littered with red, white and blue gloves and sticks as the improbable United States Olympic hockey team defeated the heavily favored Soviet Union team in the Miracle on Ice game in the 1980 Winter Olympics.
On the same ice rink, No. 13 Arizona State (14-3-5) earned itself a great moment born from a great opportunity in the 2023 Adirondack Winter Invitational.
On Saturday, the ice was littered with maroon and gold gloves and sticks as the Sun Devils pulled off the improbable shootout win over No. 17 Cornell (6-4-3) to go 2-0 on the weekend and hoist the inaugural tournament hardware.
Friday - Arizona State 5, Clarkson 2
Down 2-0 in the second period, Arizona State never wavered from the pressure of being down to an unranked Clarkson (9-6-1) team. After all, the Sun Devils were tied for the most wins in the nation at 12.
Relying on their junior forward Jackson Niedermayer, ASU felt like they were back in the game after a wrist shot from the top of the slot cut through the cloth of the Clarkson goaltender’s arm and trickled in midway through the second period.
After two periods of play, Arizona State hit the ice for one of their most impressive periods thus far. Beginning the period with a man advantage after a last-second slashing penalty committed by the Golden Knights, a loose puck in the Clarkson defensive end fell to senior forward Matthew Kopperud within the first minute of the period. Kopperud slapped the pass to the open sophomore forward Charlie Schoen who buried it to tie the game.
The onslaught of Sun Devil offense began with six minutes remaining in the game as freshman forward Kyle Smolen doubled his goal total on the season after he netted one to give the Devils a 3-2 lead and scored the second ASU empty-netter in the final minute of play. Arizona State scored five unanswered goals, four in the momentous third period, to defeat Clarkson in the first game of the four-team tournament.
Five unanswered goals.— Sun Devil Hockey (@SunDevilHockey) December 30, 2023
DON’T EVER YIELD pic.twitter.com/4LIdFbPekT
Saturday- Arizona State 2, Cornell 2, ASU 1-0 shootout
A power play goal and an even-strength one in the first two periods gave the Sun Devil their second-straight 2-0 hole in the tournament. But just as the night before, Niedermayer had an answer as his shot from the slot beat the Big Red goaltender at the 14:48 mark, just 17 seconds after Cornell scored.
In back to back games, ASU began the third period on the power play when a Cornell defenseman took a high sticking penalty before the period horn.
With just 43 seconds into the third period, ASU scored on the power play to even the game up at two apiece. Kopperud, who has made a living from the man advantage all season, cleaned up a rebound and gave the Sun Devils the much-needed equalizer to begin the period. The early goal gave Kopperud his NCAA-leading 10th power play goal of the season.
With the game knotted up at 2-2, both goaltenders locked down the net to extend the game into overtime.
In overtime, both teams couldn’t find the back of the net after two three-on-three periods. Arizona State’s junior goaltender TJ Semptimphelter made five of his 25 saves of the night in the overtime periods to keep ASU alive.
With the match officially ruled a tie in the NCAA scoring book, both teams took the ice in the famous arena to settle the game in a shootout. After three failed conversions, Smolen played hero when he patiently slid the puck to his forehand and roofed the game-winner.
With the Big Red needing a goal to extend the game, Semptimphelter stood tall in net to shut out Cornell in the shootout and give the Sun Devils the 1-0 shootout win.
Arizona State rose to No. 12 in the country in the latest USCHO Men’s Division I Ice Hockey Rankings following their tournament victory.
The Sun Devils will play Harvard at 7 p.m. MST on Friday from Mullett Arena as part of the Desert Hockey Classic tournament.