ASU hockey goes undefeated on three-game road trip

The Sun Devils won their third straight game on Saturday, marking the first time ASU has accomplished that feat since moving to Division I.

After splitting a series with Colgate and getting a weekend off, ASU hockey used an east-coast road trip to get back in the win column, and made program history in the process.

Perhaps it was that rest which helped the Sun Devils (7-13-0) sweep their recent three-game road trip. The streak is the first of that length since ASU became a Division I hockey team last season.

Sun Devil head coach Greg Powers said goaltending had a lot to do with the success.

“First of all, we got incredibly good goaltending,” Powers said in a press release following a back-to-back sweep of University of Massachusetts on Friday and Saturday. “Rob (Levin) was just solid all weekend and the guys fed off that.”

The senior stopped 53 of 55 shots faced in two games.

But before Levin and his teammates downed the Minutemen, they had a rare mid-week game on Tuesday. That contest was just down the road from UMass at American International College, making for little travel in between opponents. 

Freshman goalie Joey Daccord was in net to face the AIC Yellow Jackets, making 20 saves in route to a 3-2 win. But the star for ASU that night was junior forward David Norris, himself a former member of AIC hockey, as he scored the game-winning tally in the third period to beat his former team.

"It felt pretty awesome," Norris said. "I couldn't help but have a pretty big smile on my face after that one. (Goaltender Alex) Murray is a pretty good friend of mine too, so it was nice that I was able to get it on him."

ASU’s special teams held the Yellow Jackets scoreless on four power-play chances. Meanwhile, junior forward Wade Murphy scored one of ASU’s three goals against AIC (the others from Norris and Jack Rowe). Murphy has been hot as of late, and went on to post assists in the road trip’s remaining games to get his point streak up to five.

Following a two-day hiatus, the Sun Devils began the series at UMass on Friday.

The Sun Devils out-scored the Minutemen 8-2 over two days, winning each game by a score of 4-1. They never trailed in game one as sophomore forward Anthony Croston had two goals to go with tallies by Norris and sophomore forward Joe Lappin.

It was the first time this season that ASU has won back-to-back contests.

In game two of the UMass series on Saturday, the Minutemen took the lead in the second frame after a scoreless first period. The Sun Devils responded, netting three straight goals in the middle period by sophomore defenseman Nicholas Gushue, sophomore forward Louie Rowe and freshman forward Riley Simpson – his first as a collegian.

"We got down tonight 1-0 just like we did against RPI and Colgate," Powers said. "In both of those games, we couldn't find a way to win. But tonight, they dug deep and found a way. What I love about this team is that they're learning from past experiences and building off of things that aren't going our way to get better. It's a really good sign."

Freshman forward Brett Gruber eventually made it 4-1 ASU, where the score would remain.

ASU will now have some time off for the holidays, but gets back to work on Dec. 30 in Prescott, Arizona for the 2nd annual Desert Hockey Classic.


Reach the reporter at matthew.layman@asu.edu or follow @Mattjlayman on Twitter.

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