On Thursday, the No. 1 ASU hockey team dominated No. 6 Delaware. Friday night, a different Delaware team came to play, and it took an overtime goal from senior captain Colin Hekle to decide it.
“He’s performing,” coach Greg Powers said of Hekle.
Performing is an understatement as Hekle leads the Sun Devils (12-0-0) in goals, and has four game-winning goals.
ASU junior forward Faiz Khan opened the scoring late in first period. ASU was on the power play as a result of a five-minute spearing major penalty by the Blue Hens (8-2-1). Junior forward Liam Norris found Khan in the slot and Khan put it in the Blue Hens’ net for his second goal of the season.
Khan had been struggling, scoring only three points entering Friday. Powers said he tried to get Khan going by changing up the lines.
“I broke him and (Hekle) up for a reason, to get him going, and he got going,” Powers said. “Phenomenal.”
ASU took a 1-0 lead into the third period. Just 21 seconds into the period, senior forward Kale Dolinski put across his ninth goal of the season to extend the lead to 2-0.
That’s when the Blue Hens came alive, and Delaware sophomore goalie Patrick Rochefort was the reason.
“He almost stole the game,” Powers said. “He made at least 12 big saves. Big saves.”
Rochefort was brilliant in net, making 37 saves and giving his team every chance to win, and it almost did. The Blue Hens scored twice in the third period, including the tying goal with 3:15 left in regulation.
In overtime, the rush was just too much for Rochefort. Khan and Hekle entered the attacking zone with not enough Blue Hens between them and the net. Khan found Hekle, and Hekle found the net for the winner.
A key to ASU’s win was its performance on the penalty kill. In the second period alone, the Sun Devils were able to kill four penalties, and six total in the game.
Delaware did score a goal on the power play, but Powers does not blame the penalty killing unit. An odd deflection off a Delaware stick made the puck bounce three times, going over the goalie’s glove and in.
Robert Levin started in net for ASU, picking up his seventh win of the season.
ASU finishes the weekend set with a game against Division II NAU Saturday night. Puck drops at 7:30 p.m. at Oceanside Ice Arena in Tempe.
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @J15Emerson