Daccord's goaltending is a source of strength for ASU men's hockey

ASU goaltender has five games with 30 or more saves

While the lineups can vary from night to night, there is one typical mainstay on the list of starters. ASU sophomore goaltender Joey Daccord has been a constant for the Sun Devils between the pipes. 

"I think I just got into a groove," Daccord said. "I've played probably the last 10 or 11 games in a row and it ... feels like it's all one long game, and you're just playing hockey and not really thinking too much."

The wins may have not necessarily piled up, but Daccord’s play in goal has drawn the attention of ASU head coach Greg Powers

"In college, if you have a guy that's earned the clear-cut No. 1 job, there's no reason why they shouldn't play every game," Powers said. "The players all play every game, so why shouldn't the goalie play every game? If the goalie earns it, I agree with him, and right now he's earned that."  

Daccord’s performances have been rewarded, as the sophomore netminder has started every game but one so far in 2017-18. Of the 13 games he has appeared in this season, Daccord has recorded 10 games with at least 30 saves. 

"He's at the point now where I think he honestly expects to win every game he starts and that's where you want him," Powers said. "He's seen it all. He's been successful against some of the top teams and he's got an aura of confidence about him that is starting to seep into the rest of our guys." 

Daccord said the biggest difference between last year, and this year has been his mental preparation. 

"Last year, I wasn't playing every game, and I kind of put too much pressure on myself," Daccord said. "This year, with playing a lot, I've put a little bit less pressure on myself ... and just try to go out there and have fun." 

During a two-game series with the Penn State Nittany Lions earlier this month, Daccord got the nod for back-to-back games, making 87 saves over the weekend’s action.

"For me, I want to play every game, so whether that's back-to-back or not, it really doesn't matter for me," Daccord said. "When you make those big saves ... you just get that little extra boost, and you feel like you're in the game, and you feel like you're playing well. When you start feeling really good, that's when you play your best."

Daccord said when a puck does get past him, he takes a moment to think about the previous play.

"I usually stake to my corner and just try to take a second to think about it and say, 'What could I have done better there?'" Daccord said. "As soon as I get back to my net, I take a sip of water ... and just try to stop the next puck." 

Daccord has garnered recent success. Last weekend’s series at Holy Cross saw the Sun Devils win 3-1 and tie 3-3. Daccord made 30 and 39 saves, respectively, making it five-straight games with 30 or more saves. 

"He's been working pretty hard since last year," junior defenseman Jakob Stridsberg said. "He's been really confident and that's really good for him. I'm happy for him. He's been saving us a lot of games." 

Daccord's high-caliber performance was recognized by Powers in ASU's first game against Holy Cross — it was the Sun Devils' first win since Nov. 3. 

"Just seeing the smile on his face at Holy Cross on Friday night after he played a really good game and the team played a really good game," Powers said. "(He's) a kid that could have gone a lot of places, and he took a chance on us to come here and help us build this, and I think he's starting to get what he wanted out of taking that risk. The rewards are starting to come." 

According to uscho.com, Daccord ranks 14th in minutes played at 787 among Division I goaltenders. Daccord is also 17th in the nation in save percentage at .919. 

"With his ability and all the intangibles that he brings to the table, as long as he is uber focused on just competing for 60 minutes, he's a top goalie in college hockey," Powers said. "His competitive drive is being backed by his love for our program ... and it's showing in his game." 

Daccord is also an NHL prospect. He was selected in the seventh round (199th overall) in the 2015 NHL Draft by the Ottawa Senators. 

Powers said since first coming to ASU, Daccord has been holding himself accountable for how good he can be. 

"No one's ever doubted his talent. His talent is clearly there and that's why he's a draft pick and has a great future ahead of him," Powers said. "He's just matured an insane amount over the course of a year and we're really proud of him." 

Powers said the team rallies around Daccord. 

"They believe in him," Powers said. "I think they've always believed in him, but now the proof's in the pudding. He's strung together a really good month and a half." 

What’s next for ASU

ASU is in the midst of a bye week. The Sun Devils return to action on Friday, Dec. 8 to face the Princeton Tigers at Oceanside Ice Arena. Faceoff from Tempe is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. MST. 

Reach the reporter at michael.baron@asu.edu or follow @Michael_Baron96 on Twitter.

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