It took eight rounds in the shootout to decide the winner between top ranked ASU and No. 10 Liberty, but in the end defenseman Darcy Charrois propelled the Sun Devils to victory with his game winning shot.
“It was a pretty special moment,” Charrois said.
Charrois was the eighth Sun Devil shooter; the other seven were all stuffed by Liberty goaltender Blair Bennett. Sun Devil goaltender Joe D’Elia also took care of business meticulously saving all eight shots by Liberty and looked phenomenal in net all night. In his approach for the shot, Charrois skated side to side before sending a wrist shot passed Bennett’s left side for the goal. It was only Charrois’ second shootout goal as a Sun Devil.
“We went through a lot of shooters so we got to see the goalie quite a bit,” Charrois said. “I tried to get the goalie moving from side to side trying to find an opening. I went in their hard and got the goal.”
Despite the win, head coach Greg Powers says that the game was closer than it should have been since the Sun Devils relinquished a 3-0 lead.
“It’s not good to lose a three goal lead. We didn’t play well, but Joe played well,” Powers said. “We got the win, but we have a lot of work to do.”
The Sun Devils struck first at the 7:11 mark when defenseman Ryan Clark put the puck in to the net on a quick back door, one-timer off of a pass from center Kyle Bowen. ASU goaltender Joe D’Elia was solid in between the pipes saving seven shots. ASU finished the period with 15 shots but were unable to tack on another goal.
In the second period both teams went back and forth on the offensive end. Forward Kale Dolinski one-timed it on a pass from captain Colin Hekle at 11:29. Three minutes later the Sun Devils added another goal. Defenseman Kyle Hughes’ slap shot from the blueline was tipped by Hekle in front of the net, and then sent home by forward Danny McAuliffe.
Less than a minute later Liberty got their first goal of the game by forward Brent Boschman. Boschman’s shot slid just passed D’Elia’s right side on a goal that D’Elia probably wished he could have back. The Flames then took advantage of a defensive breakdown, as Lindsay LeBlanc was able to score on a 2-on-1 breakaway to make the game 3-2.
Despite being outshot by a margin of 15-6 in the second period, ASU still led 3-2 going into the final period.
Liberty was able to tie the game eight minutes into the third period. Freshman defenseman Steve Bellew sent it home immediately after forward Danny Logan won the face off in ASU’s defensive zone. The score remained tied 3-3 at the end of regulation, which sent the game into overtime.
“We got lackadaisical. Joe played well, but he let in a soft goal and then that gave them a little bit of confidence,” Powers said. “Collectively our defensive unit was as bad as it could be. Our decision making was bad.”
A minute into overtime, Hekle poked the puck passed the Bennett for a goal. However, the goal was disallowed because the refs had ruled on a quick whistle that Bennett had saved the puck and retained possession. ASU continued to attack with Dolinski putting a couple of shots on net, but it was to no avail. With 24 seconds left in overtime Liberty nearly scored the game winner, but D’Elia was able to come up with a big save.
Collins, Dolinski, Young, Hekle, Jantzie, McAuliffe, and McGinty all missed their shootout attempts, before Charrois hit the winner.
The Sun Devils will return to the ice Friday night at Oceanside Arena at 8 p.m., as they host Stony Brook for a two game series.