ASU men's hockey breaks losing streak with 5-4 win over Nebraska-Omaha

The Sun Devils take their first win on the road this season with a shootout

ASU men’s hockey (1-4-1) broke its losing streak with a 5-4 shootout win in its second game against the Nebraska Omaha Mavericks (2-1-1).

The game will be officially noted as a tie at 4-4, but the Sun Devils consider it to be much more than that. 

“Every time we play in these and go to three-on-three or go to a shootout, we treat losses like losses and we treat wins like wins,” head coach Greg Powers said. “We are treating this like a win and goes down as a tie in the official books, but it’s a happy room right now, and this is an effort we’re going to build off of.”

Nebraska-Omaha scored on the first shift of the game with a goal from senior right wing David Pope with an assist from senior defenseman Grant Gallo with 19:04 remaining in the first.

Immediately after, Omaha went on the power play and sophomore left wing Tristan Keck scored with assists from junior centerman Fredrik Olofsson and senior defenseman Joel Messner to make the score 2-0.

“It’s a big turning point in our season — I think against a really good team on the road,” Powers said. We fought back, and we couldn’t have started the game any worse. Really, it was our worse start of the year. They were all over us, and the guys fought through it.”

The first time the Sun Devils came back was when junior defenseman Jakob Stridsberg scored and cut the deficit in half with an assist by graduate student left wing Gage Hough with 12:13 left in the first.

It wasn’t until the beginning of the second period when freshman defenseman Gvido Jansons  tied the game at 2-2 with assists from redshirt senior right wing Dave Norris and sophomore centerman Brett Gruber.

“We wanted to win so we can beat Colgate,” Jansons said.  “It’s a good team to beat on the road. It was hard, but we found a way to win it.”

Halfway into the second period, Omaha took the lead again with another power play goal when senior left wing Jake Randolph scored assisted by sophomore defenseman Ryan Jones with 9:16 remaining.

The captains line, which was split up at the start of the game, could not get any bounces to go their way but did build a lot of momentum for the Sun Devils as they moved into the third period.

“I think it worked,” redshirt junior right wing Louie Rowe said. “It gave us a little bit of momentum just switching it up and going back and having that will to win. It helped us.”

ASU tied the game up again with a four-on-four goal from Gruber with assists from Stridsberg and freshman defenseman Jacob Wilson.

“To come back on the road-again on a Saturday night-on back-to-back road trips and not give up and shoe that kind of mettle means we got something here.” Powers said

Omaha fought back again with the power play time it had after the four-on-four play and junior centerman Tyler Vesel scored with assists from junior defenseman Jordan Klehr and junior defenseman Mason Morelli

The goal was challenged as off sides by Powers but eventually was deemed good. 

The rest of the third period dripped away until sophomore goalie Joey Daccord was pulled with one minute remaining. Then, freshman defenseman Max Balinson scored on the six-on-five attack with assists from Rowe and junior centerman Anthony Croston .

“We have an identity to renew from last season when the guys started to win against big teams like Ohio State,” Balinson said. “We did that tonight; we played with the poise and the main thing was, we did what we could control, which is our attention to detail and how hard we work.”

This sent the game into a five-on-five overtime that Omaha almost took advantage of, but Daccord made a great save as the period ended.

“The save he had there at the end of overtime — that’s Joey Daccord,” Powers said. “That’s a miraculous save by an athlete in net. That’s what he is, and he can make those saves, and I’m proud of him. He really played well tonight.”

A three-on-three overtime followed, but there was no score on that either. This sent the game into a shootout and ASU’s second shooter, junior left wing Jack Rowe, scored for the win. 

“This is huge,” Louie Rowe said. “We needed it as a team, and I think in that last couple of periods and even in overtime, we came together more as a team than we have all season. That momentum will carry over into next weekend.”

Now, after breaking their losing road record, the Sun Devils are set to continue their road trip next weekend against Colgate. 

Reach the reporter at or follow @paige_burnell on Twitter.   

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