ASU men's hockey ties against Colorado College 4-4

The Sun Devils tie with the Tigers a day after a 4-0 loss

ASU men’s hockey (4-10-5) officially tied with Colorado College (8-7-4) despite losing to the Tigers in an exhibition shootout. This is a major comeback for the Sun Devils as they were shutout by Colorado 4-0 on Saturday. 

“We always want to win, but a tie is better than a loss,” sophomore goalie Joey Daccord said. “Even though we lost the shootout, it didn’t feel like we lost, and we felt like we put forth a good effort tonight. Overall, it was a good game, just a really fun hockey game.”

The Sun Devils started off the game strong with a goal less than five minutes in from freshman defenseman Gvido Jansons off the team’s first shot. Junior centerman Anthony Croston was credited with the assist. 

“It’s always nice to start with a goal because we always are trying to come back,” Jansons said. It’s nice to be on the board early.”

Then, with 10:06 remaining in the first period, ASU struck again with a goal from sophomore centerman Brett Gruber, who was assisted by freshman right wing Johnny Walker

“Us starting off strong always helps us get into games,” Daccord said. “Especially after getting shutout last night, to get two quick ones really helped our confidence and just let us know that we can play with them.” 

That marked the first time the Sun Devils had a 2-0 lead in the regular season.

ASU later took its first penalty of the game and like Saturday night, Colorado utilized its man advantage. 

Sophomore right wing Nick Halloran scored with assists from junior centerman Mason Bergh and junior defenseman Andrew Farny to put Colorado on the board. 

From there, Colorado tied the game with a goal with 2:42 remaining in the first. Junior left wing Trevor Gooch scored with assists from junior right wing Westin Michaud and freshman centerman Christiano Versich

To end the first period, Colorado was given another power play chance. Gooch scored on it with assists from freshman centerman Troy Conzo and Versich.

“There was a lot of belief on the bench tonight,” sophomore centerman Tyler Busch said. “I think, even after they scored three in a row there to make it 3-2, we stayed up as a group and we were playing good hockey. It was just a couple mistakes here and there so just trying to stick to the game plan and keep playing and it’ll come.” 

ASU to go on the penalty kill again early in the second period. Colorado did not score on the power play, but they took the momentum from it and junior centerman Tanner Ockey scored with an assist from freshman right wing Jack Gates shortly after. 

“We need some calls that go in our favor,” Gruber said. “I feel like we get more penalties than they do every single game. We just made some simple mistakes tonight and weren’t used to the big sheet, which are just excuses. I don’t think we really need to tune it up because we’ve been good on the p.k.(penalty kill) lately.” 

At this point, the Sun Devils started to make a comeback of their own.

Busch, with assists from red shirt senior Dave Norris and junior left wing Joe Lappin, cut the 4-2 to one, scoring ASU's third goal of the game. 

“To bounce back from down 4-2 back to being up two, I think it says a lot about the guys character and we’re proud of them.” head coach Greg Powers said. 

The Sun Devils soon had to go on the penalty kill again, but this was more beneficial to the team than any of the power plays it had it the game. 

Croston then scored ASU's first short-handed goal of the season with an assist from Gruber to tie the game 4-4 with 8:49 remaining in the third period. 

“We’ve found ourselves down in games before so I think it’s nothing we haven’t seen before,” Gruber said. “I think we just stuck together and stayed positive and that’s why we were able to come back from down 4-2.”

The game moved into five-minute 5-on-5 overtime period and after no team scored, the game was officially counted as a tie. 

ASU outshot Colorado 39-36 through the four periods. This marks the team’s highest shot total of the season. The Sun Devils have only outshot their opponents one other time this season, during an October match against Massachusetts. 

“Last night, we were a perimeter hockey team, and if we’re going to play perimeter game, we’re not going to beat anybody, let alone a top 20 team like CC,” Powers said. “When we’re not perimeter and we’re driving to the net.”

There was then 3-on-3 exhibition overtime period and after no score, a shootout.

Colorado’s Versich scored in the shootout, and ASU’s Walker did not and so, Colorado unofficially won 5-4. 

“Obviously, you always want to get a win, but I think we can be happy with this result,” Busch said. “We worked hard and they’re a good team and you’ve got to give them credit- their goalie played well too. Moving forward, I think we can take a lot of positives from this weekend.”

The Sun Devils are set to continue their road trip as they will head to Pittsburgh to play Providence in the Three Rivers Classic on Dec. 29 at 2:30 p.m. MST. 


Reach the reporter at pburnell@asu.edu or follow @paige_burnell on Twitter.   

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