ASU men's hockey completes home sweep of Alaska Fairbanks

The Sun Devils picked up a 5-0 win in their first series sweep at home in program history

The ASU men's hockey team is 2-0 for the first time in the program's young history.

The Sun Devils came out for a Sunday matinee showdown with Alaska Fairbanks looking for a series sweep at home. The team was able to complete that task with a 5-0 win that featured three goals in the first period and two more in the third to complete the first 2-0 start, and the first series sweep on home ice in the short history of the program.

"It was a good team win," ASU head coach Greg Powers said. "We got production from all the guys we needed from. It's a good start to the season, but that is all it is, it's a start...That's a good first series of the season."

Similar to Saturday night's contest with the Nanooks, ASU scored its goals in quick spurts in the first period. ASU's first strike of the game came at 10:07 of the first period on a power play. 

With the puck on his stick near the blue line, ASU sophomore forward Johnny Walker sent a perfect pass to junior forward Tyler Busch that landed right on his tape. Busch was parked on the back post, and he proceeded to tap the puck home, giving the Sun Devils an early 1-0 lead.

"Johnny made a nice look," Busch said of the goal. "We did a good job of just controlling (the puck on the power play) ... It's a play we have been practicing, and we have seen it work a couple of times in practice. Johnny has that option where he can shoot or find me backdoor."

Just 43 seconds later, ASU added another goal on a play where sophomore defenseman Jacob Wilson activated from the defensive zone. Wilson jumped into the play, and received a pass in the slot from freshman forward Demetrios Koumontzis. Wilson picked up the puck and went top shelf to give the Sun Devils a 2-0 advantage.

The offense would roll from there, and 10 different players recorded points on Sunday. ASU out shot the Nanooks 32-13, and although there were a few blemishes during the second period, the Sun Devils were able to close things out in the third period with ease and a couple of goals.

ASU freshman forward PJ Marrocco picked up his first collegiate goal on the third goal of the first period, and the team put forth a well-rounded effort. 

Among others, junior goaltender Joey Daccord accumulated his second consecutive shutout to start the season, and Walker continued to wreak havoc both with his play and his physicality.

As the game wore on and ASU started to pull away, some frustrations boiled over, and the pace of play started to turn a little chippy. Doing his part to lead his team to victory, Walker was at the forefront of the points column and the extracurriculars on the ice.

"I think it is kind of something that happens naturally," Walker said of the physical play. "I'm not here to make friends, so if they (the opposing team) are focused on me, and my job allows a little more time and space or whatever it might be, I feed off of that. I will definitely invite a little attention from their team."

Following a historic weekend that saw some mementos with the program, ASU will now get ready for a measuring stick game against a taller opponent: the No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes, who are coming off of a Frozen Four run that ended in last year's national semifinals.

The Buckeyes will be welcomed into ASU's home rink to begin a two-game series next Friday, Oct. 12 at 7:05 p.m. MST.

"We are two games over .500 with a first home sweep, and now we have maybe ... the top-ranked team in the country coming in. They are going to be incredibly talented," Powers said of OSU. "But our guys are confident. 

"At the end of the day, the reality of it is we have no pressure on us. We have absolutely zero pressure on us. All of the pressure is on Ohio State. That's not to be curt, but it's a fact. We are going to go out, we are going to compete as hard as we possibly can, and we are going to have a lot of fun."


Reach the reporter at atbell1@asu.edu or follow @AndrewBell7 on Twitter.

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