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Sun Devils end weekend in overtime

(Photo: Allyson Cummings/WCSN)

Before Minot State came to Tempe, ASU coach Greg Powers said that it is harder to rein a team down from a big win rather than rise a team up from a tough loss.

The Sun Devils overcame that obstacle, ending the 2 game series against the Williston State Tetons in a 3-2 OT thriller and earning win No. 19 to make it the best start in ASU hockey history.

Senior forward Danny McAuliffe would put a stake through the Teton’s momentum, breaking away in the neutral zone and burying it past goaltender Tyler Ampe to keep the win streak alive.

“In overtime you just want to dig deep…I kind of got lucky with the breakaway. The goalie poke-checked me and I went to my backhand and luckily it went in,” McAuliffe said.

“Our guys have shown, especially our leaders like Danny McAuliffe tonight, have shown these young guys what it’s all about,” coach Powers said.

The physicality from Friday’s nights’ game leaked into Saturday’s matchup at Oceanside as soon as the buzzer sounded off. The Tetons enforced a heated battle along the boards and got a healthy dosage of shots on ACHA leader Robert Levin. They would outshoot ASU 15-7 by the end of the first.

“It was a real physical two game series,” said Powers. “They’re a tough team to play. There’s a reason why they beat Iowa State, Colorado State and Minot State. They showed why today. Any time you can beat a team like that that two nights in a row-we’ll take it.”

But the Sun Devils would be the first to strike on the power play with 3:55 left to go.

After Teton defenseman Josh Rolfe was sent to the box for slashing, ASU forward Liam Norris and defenseman Brett Prechel found freshman Sean Murphy in the front of the net to put the first point on the scoreboard.

“I really didn’t want them to be the guys to ruin our undefeated streak,” McAuliffe said.

Williston would also score on the power play in the second with forward Darrio Torres slipping the puck through the back door on Levin and tying the game. They would find the back of the net again with 7:29 in the third, taking the lead 2-1.

“They outworked us in the 1st 40 minutes,” coach Powers said. “I was really happy with how our guys played in the 3rd…there’s nothing wrong with adversity especially when you can fight through it like we did tonight.”

After a slow performance in the first two periods, the Sun Devils heated up the chilly arena as McAuliffe put the puck between the pipes with senior forwards Kale Dolinski and Liam Norris reaping the assists.

“They hit everything- you touch the puck, look up, and they’re right on you,” McAuliffe said. “The key was to just stay away from their style of game and play our style of game which is offensive-moving the puck. I think in the 3rd period we really did that and I think that’s why we got the win.”

“I really didn’t want them to be the guys to ruin our undefeated streak,” McAuliffe said.

Williston’s fast and physical offense saw multiple opportunities to hand ASU their first loss in the 4:4 sudden death overtime. But as the seconds ticked off with an impending shootout looming, McAuliffe would put the game in the record books.

“At the end of the day…we’ve had 4 3 -game weekends in a row. Our guys are tired. Now they get two weeks off and they’ve earned it,” Powers said.

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