ASU men's hockey gets a hard-fought overtime victory against Princeton

The Sun Devils came back in overtime to beat Princeton 4-3

ASU men’s hockey (4-9-3) came back in its second game against Princeton (6-7-1) and earned a 4-3 overtime victory on Dec. 9, splitting its series for the third time this season.

“I don’t have an issue with how one guy played. I thought every guy, top to bottom, played their hearts out and left it all out there,” head coach Greg Powers said. ”We’re a good team when we play that way.”

The Sun Devils made huge changes before the game even started as redshirt junior forward and team captain Dylan Hollman, redshirt junior forward and alternate captain Louie Rowe and junior defenseman Jakob Stridsberg were scratched for the first time this season.

“We’re a deep and balanced team. We think that we can win with a lot of different combinations,” Powers said. “We had some fresh legs and bodies that were sitting out that had been practicing really well … it paid off.”

Princeton struck first with a goal from junior centerman Alex Riche, who was assisted by junior right wing Max Véronneau with 13:27 remaining in the first period.

But ASU sophomore goalie Joey Daccord kept Princeton to one goal with a series of great saves throughout the first period. 

Daccord made a total of 38 saves on Saturday's game, adding up to 70 saves for the series against Princeton. 

“It’s just a gutty effort … really happy for Joey Daccord,” Powers said. “He deserved for us to grind that one out and get him a win. Just a really good team effort, really proud of the guys for bouncing back like that.”

The second period began with a power play for Princeton, but the Sun Devils killed it. 

Promptly, ASU then went on the power play for only the third time in the series and sophomore centerman Tyler Busch scored with assists from sophomore defenseman and acting alternate captain Brinson Pasichnuk and sophomore centerman Brett Gruber

“Obviously, with Hollman and Louie being out, they’re the real leaders of our team,” Busch, who served as alternate captain for the night, said. “Them, as well as (Anthony) Croston, so I just tried to pitch in a little more and just try to be myself and bring the same energy I do every night.”

ASU did not score first, but it did score – unlike last night when it was shutout 4-0.

“For us, it’s the battle of finding consistency,” Daccord said. “Sometimes, we don’t have the jump that we need … I feel like once we get one goal, we kind of get into the game."

The Sun Devils killed two more Princeton power plays in the second period and demonstrated the penalty kill the team is known for. However, this feat is even more impressive since Princeton came into the game with a 25 percent success rate on the power play. 

Princeton’s conversion rate dropped to 23.4 percent on the power play and the Sun Devils went up to an 83.8 percent rate on the penalty kill. This puts ASU at 16th overall in the league for penalty killing. 

The Sun Devils started the third period with a goal from redshirt senior right wing David Norris with assists from Busch and sophomore left wing Joe Lappin.

ASU was only able to play with a lead for a short time before Princeton tied the game with 9:13 remaining with a goal by junior left wing Ryan Kuffner, who was assisted by freshman defenseman Matthew Thom.

Then, Princeton’s Kuffner scored again less than a minute later, this time with an assist from senior defenseman Matt Nelson.

“Even when we got down tonight in the third period, we didn’t give up,” Busch said. “There was a lot of belief on that bench tonight so it was good one for us.”

In the last two minutes of the third period, the Sun Devils got a power play. After the team found the opportunity to pull Daccord, it had a two-man advantage. 

Gruber took advantage of this and tied the score 3-3 with assists from Pasichnuk and Busch for the unit’s second power play goal of the game. 

“We won the special teams battle and that’s why we won the game,” Powers said. “Our kill was tremendous ... and the power play was really good tonight, really sharp.”

The team moved into an overtime period and was quickly helped by an early goal from Norris to win the game. 

“Dave (Norris) is just a kid that finds a way on the scoresheet,” Powers said.

ASU was only outshot by Princeton 41-36, which ties the Sun Devils highest season shot total

This was a pivotal win for ASU, and the team plans to keep the momentum strong as they go back on the road next week to face Colorado College.

Reach the reporter at or follow @paige_burnell on Twitter.   

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