(Photo: Gabrielle Mercer/WCSN)
As the dark year of 2016 culminates, the Arizona State Sun Devils’ season is looking as bright as ever.
In their final road trip of the year, the Sun Devils were victorious in all three contests. Sure, the competition was not as stiff as it was earlier in the season, but ASU will take any victory it can get. With the win over American International and two victories over Massachusetts, the Sun Devils are now 7-13-0 on the season.
Tuesday: Arizona State 3, American International 2
A rare scheduling quirk forced ASU into playing their lone weeknight game all season, but it did not seem to have much of an effect on the team.
The Sun Devils never trailed during the game, and even maximized on one of the two power play chances they had when David Norris buried the game-winner in the third period against his former team.
Joey Raats made a triumphant return after missing eight straight games. The sophomore defenseman assisted on each of the first two goals.
Freshman goalie Joey Daccord stopped 20 shots and earned only his second win of the season.
Friday: Arizona State 4, Massachusetts 1
The road trip took the Sun Devils from Springfield on Tuesday to Amherst for the weekend, but this didn’t look like the ASU team who had been 1-7-0 on the road up until this week.
In game one of the two game series, newly minted alternate captain Anthony Croston scored two of his three goals this season. The Sun Devils once again never trailed and scored three of their four goals in the third period.
ASU delivered perhaps its most balanced effort of the season, as nine players had points and Croston was the only one who had more than one.
UMass had four power plays as opposed to just one for ASU, and while the Minutemen converted on a man advantage opportunity, it was their only goal of the game.
Norris tacked on a late goal in the game. He finished with four total points during the week.
Robert Levin had one of his better performances in what has been an impressive final season, saving 29 of 30 shots.
Saturday: Arizona State 4, Massachusetts 1
A second period three-goal barrage gave the Sun Devils a series sweep, which had been eluding them over the past couple of weeks.
Greg Powers rode the hot hand, opting for Levin again, and he continued his success against the Minutemen.
Nicholas Gushue tied it, Louie Rowe gave the Sun Devils the lead, and then Riley Simpson and Brett Gruber added insurance in the quick and ferocious comeback.
Despite all the success shooting the puck, the biggest reason for the victory might have been the fact that the Sun Devils had only four total penalty minutes. Gushue’s goal came on the power play, rendering special teams an overall success on Saturday.
As winners of five of their last seven contests, the Sun Devils will have some time off before they face Brown in Prescott Valley, Ariz. on Dec. 30 in the second annual Desert Hockey Classic.