Down 3-0 to the hated rivals, the captain is down with an injury and the ASU club hockey team finds a way to come back and win in overtime.
Friday’s rivalry game between No. 2 ASU and No. 18 UA was as advertised. In front of a sold-out arena, ASU overcame being down 3-0 as late as 5:02 left in the second period. It eventually won the game on an overtime goal by senior defenseman Darcy Charrois.
“It was an interesting win for sure,” Charrois said. “To be able to say I scored a game winner in overtime against them is pretty cool.”
UA (15-16-1) scored first, taking the lead with 3:42 left in the first period, the first goal that junior goaltender Joe D’Elia allowed in over two weeks. IT added two more in the second period, one of the two-on-one variety and the other on a power play.
Then ASU (29-6 ACHA) came to life late in the second period.
Faiz Khan found the back of the net for the first goal, then found junior forward Kale Dolinski got the second goal. That closed the second period with all the momentum on the ASU bench.
A scary moment came midway through the third period when junior captain Colin Hekle was slammed into the boards by a Wildcat defender. Trainers examined him and he was able to skate off the ice under his own power.
The game was 3-2 UA at the time of the hit, and the Sun Devils stepped up and responded.
With 7:19 left in regulation, Charrois dumped it off to Dolinski to tie the game at three.
The roles reversed in overtime when Dolinski found Charrois to win it.
“I don’t think anybody ever had a doubt that we were going to win that game,” head coach Greg Powers said. “We came back and did it.”
Both teams had great incentive to win coming into Friday. If UA won either Friday or Saturday night, it would clinch a berth in the national tournament. ASU’s Friday night win extends their streak to 29 consecutive victories over its rivals.
“It’s never just another game,” Powers said. “It means more that it was against UA. Sometimes wins like that are better than beating teams by seven, eight goals.
Both teams’ next games are against Williston State, a non-ACHA team. A win or a loss would not matter.
The ACHA hands out one-game suspensions for fighting. So with the animosity that these two teams have for each other, seeing a fight break out would not be out of the question, considering that the suspended players would be missing an exhibition.
Friday’s win clinches a season series victory for ASU. The Sun Devils lead 5-0 with three to play.
Get out the brooms
Sometimes a team just has another team’s number.
With ASU’s win 5-1 win Saturday night, it improve its win streak to 30 consecutive victories over the UA Wildcats, including its sixth of the season.
With 12:33 remaining in the first period, UA scored to take a 1-0 lead. It held the lead for 2:27 before ASU scored its first goal and never looked back.
Freshman forward Kyle Bowen forced a turnover in UA zone and skated around traffic to tie the game with 9:56 left in the first.
With just over a minute left, junior forward Brian McGinty gave ASU the lead that it would not relinquish.
Leading 2-1 entering the second period, it tacked on two more in the second and one more in third to close out the game.
“It was a good, solid, clean win,” Powers said. “We played a good hockey game. Clean, mistake-free.”
Dolinski is becoming a thorn in the side of the Wildcats. Over the weekend series, he had four goals, two each night.
“It’s great to beat our rivals,” Dolinski said. “It means a lot but at the end of the day, the national tournament means a little bit more.”
Any game against the Wildcats is always an intense one, and Saturday was no different. There was a lot of jawing both off the bench and on the ice.
It came to a head late in the third period between senior Phil Sansone of ASU and a Wildcat got in a scuffle.
Although Sansone was sent to the bench for the rest of the game, he skated off the ice to a standing ovation, acknowledging the fans of ASU, appreciative of his efforts against its rivals.
“Love it,” Powers said. “It couldn’t have been a better guy to go out there and stir it up and get the guys pumped up.”
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