The long road trip to Oklahoma started off on the right skate for the ASU hockey team.
The No. 1 Sun Devils came to the Sooner State off a vengeful win over No. 7 Oakland and comfortable blowout of Colorado, but knew Central Oklahoma and the University of Oklahoma weren’t going to roll over.
Thursday night started the three-game spree of games against No. 15 Central Oklahoma (6-8, 4-5 home).
“(The Broncos) play hard,” ASU coach Greg Powers said. “They dropped back and trapped a lot. …They try to hang around a lot and try to surprise teams.
“We had great goaltending tonight.”
Goaltending for ASU has never been an issue, and as of late, the only goals that have gotten passed junior goalie Joseph D’Elia were lucky bounces.
“It must be the mustache or something,” D’Elia said.
The mustache must have extended post-to-post for D’Elia, as he saved all 22 shots on goal by Central Oklahoma.
“To finally get that (shutout), it feels good,” D’Elia said.
On the offensive side of the ice, freshman Stephen Collins continues to impress making highlight-reel goals. In the first period, Collins put ASU up 1-0 after a beautiful backhanded, lob pass from senior defenseman Ryan Clark. Collins had, what seemed like, no trouble putting the puck top-shelf from his knees over Central Oklahoma freshman goaltender Cole Buckley.
Collins didn’t stop there, as he later put the Sun Devils in the clear with a goal in the middle of the third period during a five-minute misconduct penalty was called on the Bronchos.
“I think we tippy-toed out of it (the game),” Collins said. “I tippy-toed those two goals in.”
Senior forward Dan Styrna killed Central Oklahoma’s spirits with his fourth goal of the season minutes later.
Before the Bronchos could lick their wounds, junior forward and captain Colin Hekle continued his point streak to 16-straight — one every game this season — with a ricochet pass to himself off the boards and passed Buckley.
“Feels pretty good,” Hekle said. “I got lucky on that last one there.”
Lucky is better than good sometimes, and Hekle used it for his 13th goal of the season to cement the Sun Devil win 4-0.
“Our defense, guys like (sophomore Kyle) Hughes were blocking shots,” Hekle said. “It was a great team win tonight.”
Powers was thrilled with his team’s performance in their first game of the road trip.
“We iced them on the road, and I’m happy about it,” Powers said. “Four to nothing win on the road, I’ll take it.”
Powers knows, however, that the goal of this trip wasn’t to win just one, and No. 6 Oklahoma waits in Norman.
“They’re good, they’re talented, and we’re going to have bring it a lot better than we did tonight,” Powers said.
Hekle said his team is prepared and knows they need to swing the sticks to beat Oklahoma at home.
“We have to finish on our chances,” Hekle said. “Just a full 60 minutes, a team game, that’s what we need.”
The Sooners (10-5, 6-3 home) lost to UA Thursday night, and host the Sun Devils Friday and Saturday.
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