ASU men's hockey wins first tournament in program history at Ice Vegas Invitational

The Sun Devils beat Michigan Tech 3-2 to win the Ice Vegas Invitational

ASU men’s hockey (6-12-4) got its first tournament win in program history after beating Michigan Tech (11-9-5) in the championship game of the Ice Vegas Invitational by a score of 3-2.

“I’m feeling like I want to go out in Vegas,” ASU head coach Greg Powers said. “That was a great win. I’m proud of our guys ... It’s certainly something our program can and will build off of.”

ASU started the game off well when sophomore defenseman Brinson Pasichnuk scored on a break away during 4-on-4 play less than three minutes into the first period.

“I think that was my fifth breakaway this year and that was my first goal,” Pasichnuk said.  “Literally, Coach Hicksey’s (Alex Hicks) voice was in my head because I usually shoot high blocker and I could just hear him saying, ‘don’t you dare shoot high blocker’ so I just decided to do a little move.”

ASU had several quality chances in the first period, but moved into the second period still one goal ahead of Michigan Tech.

This changed as the Sun Devils came out strong to begin the second period of play. 

“Our whole thing is one game at a time and it’s a new year so it’s good to start winning some more games.” freshman defenseman Jacob Wilson said. 

Freshman right wing Johnny Walker scored with assists from junior left wing Anthony Croston and sophomore goalie Joey Daccord

“We can play with anyone,” freshman left wing and Las Vegas native Dominic Garcia said. “Our confidence was low because we were losing a lot, but now the teams we played are top two in the WCHA, and for us to go out there and win the first game and win the second game, it’s huge for us.”

The second period brought a lot chances for both teams, but the Sun Devils kept Michigan Tech scoreless with composed efforts from all four lines as well as excellent goaltending from Daccord.

Daccord faced 38 shots from Michigan Tech and 43 from Northern Michigan, from which he made 71 saves over the course of the tournament. 

"Joey (Daccord) was awesome," Powers said. "He was incredible."

Pasichnuk scored ASU’s third goal off an assist from Croston and sophomore centerman Brett Gruber with 5:41 remaining in the second period. 

This was Pasichnuk’s second goal of the night and fifth point of the Ice Vegas Invitational. He was named the tournament’s most valuable player. 

“With that hard work, we’re finally getting those bounces, we’re finally finding the back of the net,” Pasichnuk said. “It’s been a struggle all year, but after this weekend, I think it’s really going to turn around and we’re going to do something similar to last year where we upset a bunch of big teams.”

The third period did not go as smoothly for the Sun Devils as Michigan Tech senior centerman Dylan Steman and freshman right wing Greyson Reitmeier both scored to make it a one goal game, but ASU held them off and got the win.

“They pushed back and they left everything they had on the ice, and our guys did too and we came out on top,” Powers said.

With the score at 3-2, ASU had to scramble at the end when Michigan Tech pulled its goalie just before a minute was left in the game. 

“Our team hasn’t experienced anything like that," Pasichnuk said. "That’s something we made history on for this program so we’re definitely going to build off it."

ASU returns home to Tempe for a series against UMass-Lowell at 7:05 p.m. MST on Friday January 12 and Saturday January 13. 

Reach the reporter at or follow @paige_burnell on Twitter.   

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