Thirty-four was the goal for the weekend.
No. 2 ASU (5-0) hockey entered the weekend with a 32-game win streak over rival No. 20 UA (2-2). With two games on the schedule, the Sun Devils had a prime opportunity to pad the streak.
They did just that, as well as shutting out the Wildcats for the first time since Oct. 1, 2009, the game that happened to start the 34-game win streak.
Coach Greg Powers said the streak can become a distraction if the team focuses on it.
“It’s to the point now that we can’t talk about the number,” Powers said. “We just have to focus on each game as its own, and if we do that, it will extend pretty far.”
ASU did not see a drop-off in production playing against a Division I team for the first time. The Sun Devils’ first three opponents of the season were Division II teams. Against the Wildcats, ASU outscored its competition 11-1 in the two-game set and outshot them 101-41.
After a violent game Friday night that featured an ejection and very close to a benches-clearing brawl, Saturday night was much more mellow. There were no fights, and only one roughing penalty on ASU.
Powers said the team did a good job of calming down for the second game.
“The key is to not get too caught up in it and get carried away with it,” he said. “This team we have is a focused hockey team.”
Saturday night belonged to two freshmen: forward Chris Burkemper and goaltender Robert Levin.
Burkemper netted two goals, taking over the team lead with five. He said Powers told him before the game that he can’t appreciate the rivalry until he has experienced it firsthand.
“After these two games, now I know how it feels,” Burkemper said.
Levin recorded his second shutout of the season. He has allowed only one goal all season, good for a .980 save percentage in three games.
Levin’s performance was the final act to another great weekend between the pipes for ASU goalies. Senior Joe D’Elia was in net Friday, allowing one goal and blocking 18 shots.
D’Elia rested Saturday because of Powers’ confidence in Levin. Both goalies have shown that they give the team a chance to win every night, and Powers said he feels confident in whoever starts.
The Sun Devils’ points leaders for the weekend were Burkemper, senior forward Kale Dolinski, and freshman defenseman Alex Temby with three each. In addition to Burkemper’s two goals on Saturday, he had an assist Friday night. Temby recorded a goal and an assist on Friday, adding another assist Saturday.
Dolinski had two assists Friday and a goal on Saturday. He now leads the team with 11 points.
ASU now leads the Cactus Cup, the trophy given annually to the winner of the ASU-UA season series, 2-0.
On the season, ASU has outscored its opponents 44-3 in five games.
ASU will go on its first road trip this weekend for two games against No. 6 Illinois.