Key players shine in ASU men's hockey's 6-3 win against Nebraska Omaha

Anthony Croston tallied two goals and an assist in his 100th game while Joey Daccord recorded 43 saves

All eyes were on Anthony Croston on Friday night.

The senior forward and former walk-on was recognized for playing his 100th game as a Sun Devil before ASU men's hockey took on the University of Nebraska Omaha last night, winning 6-3.

Croston skated onto the ice early in the first period. Following a hooking penalty he stole the puck, found a boost of speed and made a free run toward the goal. 

As Croston went for his shot he was tripped, earning him a penalty shot.

Although he seemingly only had minutes to prepare, Croston said he didn’t have to think about what he was about to do; he went low-blocker and scored, converting his first goal this season. Croston later scored an empty-net goal with nine seconds left, and he recorded an assist in the second period. 

Junior goaltender Joey Daccord said he was happy for his teammate and with his performance, which propelled ASU (5-2) to a win.

“It was really cool, especially because I have been here and seen him develop so much over the years,” Daccord said. “I knew he was going to score as soon as he got taken down and they made the call. I knew he was going blocker, that is his money spot.”

Whether it's dealing with a high-pressure situation on a penalty attempt or needing to secure a win, ASU head coach Greg Powers said he always has faith in Croston.

“The hockey gods were with Anthony Croston tonight because he deserved to win this game,” Powers said. “He has done everything the right way since he has been here and hopefully (this momentum) will stay with him for the rest of the season.”

Although the Sun Devils started quickly, Nebraska Omaha (0-4-1) didn’t shy away. 

ASU scored early and often, but the Mavericks continued to answer. Junior forward Steenn Pasichnuk scored to give ASU a 1-0 lead, but Maverick junior forward Zach Jordan answered a few moments later on a power play. 

Then, just three minutes after Croston netted his penalty shot, Nebraska Omaha junior defenseman Dean Stewart scored to level the game.

ASU redshirt freshman forward Austin Lemieux ended the first period when scored a few minutes later, netting his second collegiate goal. 

Powers said that during the physical second period, his team did not play their usual game and that Nebraska Omaha outworked and outplayed them that period. 

“I thought the second period was by far our worst this season,” Powers said. “We were sloppy, we had some bad changes. We were fishing for pucks and we weren’t competing like we normally do.”

He added that Daccord made unbelievable saves to keep ASU ahead however, giving the team momentum heading into the final period.

In that final period, junior forward Tristan Keck scored another goal for Omaha, but junior defenseman Brinson Pasichnuk, redshirt senior forward Dylan Hollman and Croston all added goals to ensure ASU's victory.

Daccord, who finished with 43 saves, said he has the same mindset every game, and that whether it is a high or low-scoring game he wants to stay consistent, make saves and put ASU in position to win.

“That is all you can really do – focus on the next shot,” Daccord said.

Although Daccord seemed to downplay his performance on Friday night, Powers did not. 

"We have the best goalie in the country and he played like it, he got us a win,” Powers said.

ASU prepares to take on Omaha again tonight at 7:05 p.m. MST in Tempe.


Reach the reporter at nahiatt@asu.edu or follow @NATE_HIATT on Twitter.

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