(Photo: Gabrielle Mercer/WCSN)
Arizona State continued to finish the final third of their season strong, earning a weekend split against No. 17 Quinnipiac.
The Sun Devils (10-18-2) suffered an all-too familiar blowout in the first game, but came back to win the finale, an anomaly compared to most other series during the course of the year.
For ASU, it’s the first win against a ranked team since Oct. 16 when irt defeated then-No. 18 Air Force.
Friday: No. 17 Quinnipiac 5, Arizona State 2
The first contest of the weekend was never close as the Bobcats scored the first four goals and did not look back.
Chase Priskie scored two of their five goals on Robert Levin, who faced an astounding 52 shots.
Both of the Sun Devils’ goals came in the third period after the game was essentially already decided. Wade Murphy and Jack Rowe were able to convert on shots. For Rowe, it was his second consecutive weekend with a goal after only having one through his first 17 games.
Like a lot of other ASU games this season, Friday’s battle was loaded with penalties. ASU had 15, including three from Murphy. QU finished with nine, not a small amount, but a clear advantage nonetheless.
Unsurprisingly, three of the Bobcats goals came on the power play. The 22 total shots they had with a man advantage played a big part in why Levin faced the onslaught of shots. Facing such a powerhouse like QU, all the penalties did was further shoot the Sun Devils in the foot.
Saturday: Arizona State 4, No. 17 Quinnipiac 2
It would have been easy on Saturday for the Sun Devils to just roll over again, but they instead proved that they could hang with the big boys of the NCAA. The win was one of the hallmarks of the 2016-2017 season thus far.
Fittingly, the captain and alternate captain, Dylan Hollman and Anthony Croston, anchored the victory. Croston continued his red-hot second half, scoring two goals, while Hollman had two assists, setting up his teammates like he has done all season long.
The steep drop in penalties from both teams made for a more evenly fought game, with only 11 combined from both teams, less than ASU had on its own on Friday. Still, Brinson Pasichnuk’s goal was scored on the power play, and on the flip side, the Sun Devils’ penalty kill allowed just one goal from the Bobcats.
Despite the all-around solid performance, the most valuable player for ASU was freshman goalie Joey Daccord. He has had an extreme up-and-down season, and Saturday’s game was by far his best effort of the year.
Much like Levin on Friday, Daccord faced a bevy of shots. The 27 of the 53 that came his way in the third period is the amount that some face over the course of an entire game. His commendable effort went a long way in the win.
The challenging games don’t end yet for the Sun Devils, as their road trip continues next weekend in Kalamazoo, Mich. against No. 13 Western Michigan.