(Photo: Allyson Cummings/WCSN)
After beating Arizona in back-to-back games to advance to 5-0, the Arizona State hockey team took the past two weekends to travel to play ranked teams in both Illinois and Oklahoma. The Sun Devils took advantage of the trip, going undefeated while outscoring opponents 24-5 in their five games away from Oceanside Ice Arena.
The Sun Devils traveled to Chicago for a two-game set against the seventh ranked University of Illinois Fighting Illini. The Sun Devils continued their winning ways against the Fighting Illini, outscoring Illinois 14-1 in their two games and outshooting their opponents 62-45.
This past weekend kicked off with the number two Sun Devils facing off against the third ranked University of Oklahoma Sooners in Norman, and the game definitely lived up to its billing. Goalie Robert Levin went toe-to-toe with Oklahoma senior Nick Holmes, keeping the Sun Devils in the game after allowing a goal within the first five minutes of the game.
With 57 seconds left in regulation time and ASU looking its first loss of the season, sophomore defenseman Jordan Young found twine to knot the score at 1. The overtime clock went almost all the way down without a goal, and it looked as though neither side would emerge victorious. A familiar face came up clutch once again. With only ten seconds remaining in the extra period, senior captain Colin Hekle put the biscuit in the basket to give the Sun Devils a hard-earned victory against a top team.
Levin played well after allowing his first goal of the season in the first period, stopping 28 of the 29 shots he faced between the pipes. Holmes was just as good on his side of the ice, stopping 25 ASU shots.
The Sun Devils then traveled north to Edmond, OK for a two game series against the eleventh ranked Central Oklahoma Bronchos. The Bronchos kept both games of the series close, but the Sun Devils powered their way past Central Oklahoma.
In game one, Brian McGinty poured two goals and Hekle and Chris Burkemper netted one apiece to take the game 4-1. In game two against the Bronchos, four different Sun Devil skaters ripped twine in the victory as Arizona State completed the sweep of the five game road trip. The three game sweep of the Oklahoma teams was just the second in the history of ASU hockey, with the first coming just a season ago.
Joe D’Elia and Robert Levin played very well in net during the trip. D’Elia gave up three goals in his two starts on the trip, while the freshman Levin was dazzling as usual – he gave up two goals in his three starts, including a shutout of Illinois. Supplementing the great goaltending, twelve different skaters delivered at least one goal on the trip for ASU. ASU averaged just under five per game.
The Sun Devils will start a stretch of eleven straight games at home starting this Thursday as the Delaware Blue Hens will make their way to Oceanside Ice Arena for a two game series.
You can reach Matthew Tonis on Twitter @Tonis_The_Tiger or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org