(Photo: Gabrielle Mercer/WCSN)
The Arizona State Sun Devils fell to the Brown Bears 9-8 in the first round of the second annual Desert Hockey Classic Friday night in double overtime.
The team’s win streak ended at three games as ASU dropped to 7-13-1 on the season with the official result designated as an overtime loss.
“Like I’ve said all year, we can score,” ASU head coach Greg Powers said. “When you can score, you’re never out of a game, you know, we got down 4-2 and boom, boom, boom, put four on the board in a six, seven minute span, you know, we can score.”
The Sun Devils broke the scoring seal courtesy of total points leader Robbie Baillargeon’s ninth goal of the season.
The goal boosted Baillargeon’s point total to 16 on the year as he continued to spark the Arizona State offensive attack against the Bears.
Still, Brown junior Charlie Corcoran wasted little time with his rebuttal for the Bears. He tied the contest up at one apiece roughly three minutes after Baillargeon’s goal.
From that point on, it looked as though the night would belong to Corcoran and the Bears.
Three minutes into the second period, Corcoran notched a hat trick with his ninth and tenth goal of the season to give the Bears a one-goal lead in the second.
He finished with four goals in the game.
“[His performance] was really impressive,” Powers said. “The kid scored four goals. When you score four goals in a game, that’s one to remember for that kid.”
Two of Corcoran’s three goals came via the power play, which Arizona State struggled to stop from the moment the puck dropped.
“Our special teams were below average for sure,” ASU defenseman Louie Rowe said. “Our penalty kill, we were little off on our details and they executed on them, our power play was alright, but again, we can’t lose the special team battle and want to win the game.”
Regardless of the offensive explosion, though, Arizona State still trailed by only one goal due in part to a second period goal from sophomore Jakob Stridsberg.
“That’s just our attitude, our competitive edge,” Rowe said. “We’re not going to win games unless we retaliate every time. They get one, we’ve got to get one or two, so that’s just our identity, we’re never going to give up, we’re never going to let off the gas.”
Brown junior Tyler Bird got in on the scoring for Brown, contributing with his second goal of the season to give the Bears a two-goal cushion.
However, just before the end of the second period, the script flipped dramatically in favor of the Sun Devils.
After trailing 4-2 halfway through the second period, the Arizona State offense exploded for four unanswered goals – two of which came via the power play – to recapture all of the game’s momentum, as well as a 6-4 lead, heading into the final period.
“Anytime you can score eight goals it’s a good thing,” Powers said. “Just some of the defensive mistakes that we made were so uncharacteristic and the guys that were making them, really uncharacteristic, that’s just a game, I don’t know, I’ve never been apart of a game like that.”
Despite a back and forth affair in the third period, Arizona State took a late lead with goals from Rowe and Stridsberg.
Both finished with two goals in the contest.
However, a late goal scored by Brown junior Sam Lafferty with just seconds remaining on the clock sent the game to overtime.
Max Willman’s second goal of the night ended the game in the 3-on-3 portion of overtime, sending the Bears to the Desert Hockey Classic final against UConn on Saturday at 4 p.m.
Arizona State will take on No. 18 St. Cloud State in the consolation game at 7 p.m.
“The disappointing thing is we obviously can’t play for our championship in our tournament tomorrow,” Powers said. “But we’ve got a great opportunity against a really good team tomorrow in St. Cloud [State] and we’re going to hit the reset button and come back, see what we can do.”