ASU hockey bested by No. 18 St. Cloud State in Desert Hockey Classic consolation game

The Sun Devils couldn’t complete a late comeback effort as they fell 4-2 to the No. 18 Huskies.

Just hours before ringing in a new year, ASU hockey took the ice against No. 18 St. Cloud State in the consolation game of their own Desert Hockey Classic tournament.

The Sun Devils fell to the Huskies, 4-2, in their final contest of an eventful 2016.

“It was a weird game,” head coach Greg Powers said. “We didn’t feel that at any phase of that game, that we were getting outmanned in any major way.”

The Sun Devils won three straight games – on the road, no less – before heading into a Christmas break that spanned nearly two whole weeks. In their return to action Friday, a dramatic 8-8 tie ended the win streak and killed ASU’s chance to play in Saturday’s tournament final.

For the second straight year, ASU (7-14-1) finishes fourth in their own Desert Hockey Classic tournament.

In the first two periods, St. Cloud State (9-8-1) looked like it could be on its way to a shutout, as it took a 3-0 lead into second intermission. ASU scored twice in the third period, the goals just 1:39 apart, but they would never complete the comeback.

“Coach kind of gave it to us (in the second intermission, he said ‘wake up.’” said freshman forward Steenn Pasichnuk, who scored one of ASU’s two goals in the third period. “We knew we were a better team than what we showed in the first two periods.”

Pasichnuk played in his first game Saturday since Nov. 19, having been out with an injury. He scored his second collegiate goal with just more than 10 minutes to go in the third.

“I felt pretty good,” he said. “I skated a lot over Christmas break, so I tried to keep in shape. I just kept it simple out there, to be honest.”

The Huskies, however, got on the board first and notched the first period’s only goal when sophomore forward Robby Jackson scored on ASU freshman goalie Joey Daccord.

Daccord finished the night with three goals allowed and 23 saves.

“I thought he was solid,” Powers said of his netminder. “I thought Joey made all the saves he should have made. He made some other big ones that you could argue that he shouldn’t have. He was very solid.”

Daccord’s second goal allowed came when he was down on the ice and was scrambling to get back up. He dove to his left to try to stop a rebound chance for St. Cloud State, but he was too late.

Freshman forward Jack Poehling scored his third of the season to make it 2-0 Huskies.

After the play, ASU captain and sophomore forward Dylan Hollman was talking with the refs.

“I think the ref didn’t see it go in, and the debate was, ‘Did it go in, or not?’,” Powers said. “It went in, so that’s why we didn’t argue with it.”

Jackson scored again, unassisted, with less than four minutes to go in the second period.

In the third, freshman forward Tyler Busch scored his sixth goal of the year to get the Sun Devils on the board and make it 3-1. Pasichnuk’s goal followed less than two minutes later, but that’s all they’d get.

As the horn sounded to end regulation, ASU had an empty net but was called for a penalty as the Huskies’ Jackson had a scoring chance. It would have been a penalty shot, but such situations with an empty-net are ruled automatic goals.

Jackson was credited with a hat trick after scoring only two goals – a strange ending.

Nonetheless, it didn’t matter: ASU would have lost either way.

“Those first 40 minutes, I don’t think we were desperate,” Powers said. “In the last 20, we were desperate. And we almost pulled it off.”

Reach the reporter at or follow @Mattjlayman on Twitter.

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