Not even a broken pane of glass could stop the Sun Devil hockey team from winning their 28th in a row against rival Arizona on Saturday night.
The Tucson Convention Center did a white out for the #1 ASU versus #17 U of A hockey game and the rink assumed its proper name as the Mad House on Main Street. With over 18 minutes left to play in the third period, a sheet of glass detached from the boards and shattered in front of the stands. At this point, the game was tied at one apiece and the Wildcats appeared to have all the momentum. But, apparently not enough.
With exactly nine minutes left in the game, forward Faiz Khan stripped the puck in the offensive zone and beat Arizona’s goaltender Steven Sisler top shelf to put the Sun Devils back up a goal. That goal was Khan’s fourth goal of the season and first tally against the Wildcats in his career.
ASU’s 2012 recruiting class strikes again.
With 1:30 remaining in Tucson, Arizona called a timeout and moments later Colin Hekle connected with Brian McGinty on a back door goal that sealed the deal for the Sun Devils in a 3-1 decision. With the assist, Hekle increased his scoring streak to 13 games.
Dan Styrna also scored his third goal of the season for the maroon and gold and freshman forward Brennen Parker scored his second goal of the series midway through the second period to tie the game at one. Parker had two points entering the weekend and he scored the Wildcats only two goals of the Cactus Cup series.
ASU junior netminder Joe D’Elia finished the night with 44 saves in route to his second straight win against his cross state rival. He added the spark in net that the Sun Devils desperately needed. Defenseman Jordan Young who plays second line defense and leads all ASU defensemen with 17 points was missed tonight as the Wildcats had their share of offensive chances and odd-man rushes. Young sat out in game two of the series for precautionary reasons. Fortunately, D’Elia was able to bail out his team’s defensive lapses and minimize rebounds.
Also, the top key to success this weekend was focused on the team’s discipline. ASU committed only three penalties in each game and went a perfect 6-6 on penalty kills.
Saturday night was not the easiest victory for the Sun Devils but they proved that they have heart and the capability to win close games on the road.
With the win, the Sun Devils improved to 13-0 on the season and have a critical redemption match-up on Thursday night at home against #7 Oakland. Oakland eliminated Arizona State last year in the first round of the national ACHA tournament.