The Sun Devils are in the final four of the national tournament for the first time in school history after defeating the University of Illinois 3-1 on Sunday.
The Sun Devils are also the highest seed left in the tournament after Adrian College fell to Lindenwood University 5-4.
Both teams will square off tonight to determine who will make it to the ACHA finals.
Arizona State and Lindenwood have faced each other twice this season, with the Sun Devils coming out on top in both games. However, those games were back in October, and since then both teams have developed into much better teams.
In their second round game against Illinois, the Sun Devils struggled to find the back of the net, despite reeling off 41 shots. Illinois goaltender Nick Clarke carried his team for three periods, but the Sun Devils showed their resiliency and were able to close out the game with two goals in the third.
Lindenwood on the other hand, grinded out win over top-ranked Adrian College. Forwards Steve Brancheau and Jeremy Meletti have carried the scoring load for the Lions, combining for five goals. As a ninth-seed, this team has shown that it is not afraid to face off against the best of them.
In tonight’s match-up, it is clear that Lindenwood’s biggest strength will have to be their defense. The Sun Devils have the best goal differential in the ACHA as they are +103. At times this season, Arizona State’s offense has struggled to find the back of the net, but they are firing on all cylinders in the national tournament. The team has scored 11 goals in two games, which makes them the highest scoring team this post season.
Forward Kale Dolinski has returned to top form since missing time due to injury before the tournament. Dolinski has two goals and two assists, including the dagger against Illinois on Sunday. Goaltender Joe D’Elia has also been instrumental in the team’s success in the national tournament. D’Elia has saved 49 out of 52 shots faced all tournament.
If the Sun Devils hope to continue to make school history, they will have to put pucks on net and take advantage of rebounds. If they get off to a hot start, this will force Lindenwood out of their comfort zone and that will mean more opportunities for goal. D’Elia will also have to continue to play solid in between the pipes.
However, as Lindenwood has proven in the post season, they are not a team to be taken lightly.
The puck drops at 7:00 p.m. MST, and the game will be streamed on fasthockey.com.