The lines may change but the results do not.
The Arizona State hockey team remained undefeated with a convincing 6-1 victory for the second night in a row against the No. 6 Oklahoma Sooner. Captain Colin Hekle keyed the Sun Devils effort with two first period goals that would give Arizona State all they needed to pull out their 18th consecutive victory to open the season.
Hekle’s offensive outburst comes as no surprise, as he has contributed at least one point in every Sun Devil game this season. The Arizona State captain remains a model of consistency, even as his partners in crime change.
Heading into the Oklahoma road trip, Arizona State possessed an impressive 15-0-0 record on the season. However, over the course of their last few weeks, the Sun Devils began to look complacent as they struggled to create significant separation on the scoreboard.
A narrow victory over the University of Arizona and a shootout heart-stopper against the Oakland Golden Grizzlies told Sun Devils’ coach Greg Powers all he needed to hear.
On Thursday night, Arizona State unveiled unexpected changes in their lineup as Powers decided to split the most successful line in the ACHA. Colin Hekle, Brian McGinty, and Stephen Collins no longer roam the ice together as the prolific trio now finds themselves scattered among different lines.
After a dominating 4-0 effort against Central Oklahoma on Thursday night, the Sun Devils did not relent in their Friday night affair against No. 6 Oklahoma. The newly discovered scoring combinations thrived en route to a 6-1 victory that squashed the thoughts of a Sooners’ upset.
On Saturday, the Sun Devils returned to the ice looking for their first ever sweep on their annual Oklahoma road trip.
After Colin Hekle’s impressive first period, the Sun Devils held an early 2-0 advantage. The Sooners came roaring back with a goal of their own to start the second period, but it was all Arizona State from there on out.
Just minutes after the Sooners struck, Darcy Charrois found Brian McGinty for a power play goal that gave the Sun Devils a 3-1 lead, and that score held until the third period.
After the wake-up call the Sun Devils received on Friday, they came out determined to prove a point in the third period. Regardless of who skates with whom, the Sun Devils’ offense is downright dangerous.
In the third period, Brian McGinty and Kale Dolinski combined to account for three Arizona State goals.
Two consecutive six-goal barrages displayed the offensive prowess of this Arizona State team, but so did the score underneath their opponent’s name. After shutting out Central Oklahoma on Thursday and allowing just one goal against the Sooners on Friday, Sun Devil goalie Joe D’Eliawas rewarded with a night off.
Unfortunately for the Oklahoma, Kyle Dietriech is more than a serviceable backup. The normally potent Sooners attack saw shot after shot engulfed by the glove of the Arizona State net-minder. Dietriech stopped 22 of the 23 shots he faced. His performance was just another exercise in depth, as the Sun Devils displayed the immense talent found up and down their roster all weekend long.
The Sun Devils wound up sweeping their road trip, but they leave Oklahoma with more than just victories. In shaking up the status quo, head coach Greg Powers sent a message to not just his team, but to the entire ACHA.
The Sun Devil forwards treat their opponents’ nets like an all-you-can-eat buffet. And by the looks of it, the offense won’t stop until their hunger subsides.
At 18-0 and ranked No.1 in the league, the Sun Devils are far from satisfied.