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Another rivalry weekend, another sweep over the Wildcats

(Photo: Allyson Cummings/WCSN)

The win streak was extended to 34 on Saturday night, as the Arizona State hockey team defeated the University of Arizona by a score of 6-0.

Friday’s game left both teams with a lot to live up to and with both teams making roster changes, on-ice adjustments were very noticeable.

Arizona State head coach Greg Powers kept his top line the same, with Liam Norris centered between Kale Dolinski and Danny MacAuliffe. Sean Murphy returned to his normal spot with forwards Colin Hekle and Faiz Khan after sitting out Friday’s tilt for a violation of team rules.

The top two lines showed weariness early, but both became necessary for Powers to call on when the team needed an offensive jolt.

The first period saw each team get called for two penalties, but neither could capitalize, leaving the game scoreless after one.

ASU typically wins the shots battle by a wide margin, but the totals after the first were just 11-9 Sun Devils. Powers was not pleased with his team efforts.

“We learned a valuable lesson: you can’t just show up and go through the motions, because I thought [Arizona] outplayed us in the first period tonight and had us on our heels,” Powers said.

In the second period, play returned to the state that is expected when these two teams meet. Norris and Burkemper both netted goals for the Sun Devils to get the momentum rolling in ASU’s favor.

The scoring then doubled in the third, as Arizona State scored four times to ice the game and the series.

Burkemper said after the game that he and the other newcomers had their rivalry-game expectations exceeded greatly.

“Coach was explaining before, ‘You have no idea how big this rivalry is until you actually become a part of it,’ and now I know how it feels.” Burkemper said, “I’m really excited to be a part of it. I loved it.”

The MVP of the game was Levin, making 22 saves on 22 Wildcat shots and lowering his goals against average to 0.40, an ACHA best.

“He literally played a flawless game,” Powers said.  “Good goalies make the tough saves look like routine saves, and that’s what he did.

In Arizona State’s first two games against a ranked opponent, they outscored their archrival 11-1. The No. 2 Sun Devils will put their early season momentum to the test against the undefeated No. 5 Fighting Illini out in Chicago, IL.

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