ASU men's hockey makes a statement with series split at No. 6 Penn State

The Sun Devils handed the No. 6 team in the country its first loss of the season

With a tall task at hand, the young ASU men's hockey team went into No. 6 Penn State over the weekend and picked up a program-defining series split with a previously undefeated Nittany Lions team. 

Game One: Friday

On Friday night, ASU battled, but fell in a 6-5 game that was full of firepower. 

Penn State struck first less than five minutes into the game, but ASU would respond with goals from junior forward Tyler Busch and freshman defenseman Josh Maniscalco. Maniscalco's strike was his first collegiate goal.

However, Penn State would answer back toward the end of the first period, and both teams would go into the first intermission tied at two.

ASU redshirt senior forward Dylan Hollman notched two goals in the second frame, and PSU would add one of its own, and with 20 minutes left to play, ASU had a chance to steal the first game of the series.

Unfortunately for the Sun Devils, a flurry of three straight Nittany Lion goals would lead to their demise in the final 20 minutes, and ASU would leave the rink with a 6-5 defeat. 

Sophomore forward Johnny Walker kept up his rapid scoring touch by tallying the fifth goal for ASU in the third, but the comeback bid would be kept short. Despite not completing the victory, that momentum for Walker would carry over in a big way less than 24 hours later.

Game Two: Saturday

After Friday night, ASU responded with a huge statement win on Saturday night with a dramatic, 4-3 overtime victory.

The Sun Devils recorded two goals from Walker, and another tally from Hollman. Additionally, freshman forward PJ Marrocco kicked off the scoring for ASU in the first period. 

However, the play of the night would be the man with the number seven on his sweater for ASU. 

In the second period, the Sun Devils jumped out to a 3-1 lead. With a chance to avenge its loss from the previous night, the team looked to close out the victory. Penn State had other plans though, as they came all the way back to tie the game with just 2:51 remaining in the game. 

With all momentum back on the Penn State bench as the two teams went to overtime, Walker then prevailed for ASU.

The sophomore sniper buried a sudden death goal in overtime, thus sealing the split in one of the biggest wins in young program history. ASU has already had some notable wins on its four-year resume, but Saturday night's definitely will go down as one of, if not the biggest, win to date thus far.


The team can expect to be on the verge of cracking the USCHO top-20 rankings, and they will return to Tempe with a 7-3 record, and the best start in the team's history. 

With a monumental win against one of the top teams in the nation, ASU will get set for another Big Ten opponent when Michigan State visits Oceanside Ice Arena for a two-game series next weekend.


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

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