No. 10 ASU hockey's seniors lead offense, blank Alaska Anchorage 5-0

Senior forward Brett Gruber scored two goals in the second period

The No. 10 ASU men's hockey team extended its win streak to six games on Friday night with a 5-0 defeat over the University of Alaska Anchorage at Oceanside Ice Arena.

The Sun Devils maintained heavy pressure in the Seawolves' defensive zone throughout the game to keep the latter on their heels.

Junior forward Johnny Walker scored his team-leading 18th goal of the season midway through the opening period with help from a layout pass by sophomore forward Jordan Sandhu to push ASU ahead 1-0.

Sophomore forward PJ Marrocco doubled ASU's lead six minutes later on a shot from the right face-off circle, the same place where Walker recorded the game's first goal.

No more scores would come until seven minutes into the second period, when senior forward Brett Gruber scored on assists from senior forward Tyler Busch and freshman defenseman Jack Judson.

Gruber scored his second goal of the night nearly 12 minutes later on a power-play to increase ASU's lead to four goals.

"I thought both my linemates had really good nights," Gruber said. "They gave me pucks and forechecked. I was able to capitalize on that tonight.”

Senior defenseman Brinson Pasichnuk recorded his 100th career NCAA point on his seventh goal of the season at 12:42 into the final period.

Pasichnuk is the first player in program history to reach the milestone.

“(I) just thank God and all the glory, because I was not aiming five-hole on that shot," Pasichnuk said on the play. "It’s really cool; it’s a cool accomplishment. I never thought I would get to that many so I am just grateful and (Austin Lemieux) made a great play, selfless play to give me an opportunity so it’s cool."

In addition to the production from the defenseman in Pasichnuk, Judson recorded three assists on the night, giving him 10 points on the season.

“He was really good tonight," ASU head coach Greg Powers said of Judson. "He defended well, and I think it just started to translate for him every time he touched the puck. He played with a lot of confidence."

Sophomore goaltender Evan DeBrouwer was also a key component to the team's victory, making 25 saves on 25 shots in the game to record his fourth shutout of the season.

“That’s how you know he is at his sharpest," Powers said. "He’s dialed in when he makes the tough saves look really easy and that’s what he’s doing right now and he’s focused. It’s good to see.” 

The team's senior influence comes at a good time, as the team is halfway through its final home series of the season, with senior night ahead of them.

“It’s going to be emotional for sure," Gruber said. "We’re just all really grateful for the time we’ve had here and we feel honored to wear the pitchfork every single night, and it’s honestly just a lot of gratefulness."

The seniors have seen it all with the ASU hockey program, and Powers knows that their impact is one of the leading causes of the team's success this season.

“I told them this week and today; it doesn’t matter how our season ends," Powers said. "It could end today and what these guys have done for us is never going to be able to be measured."

The seniors — and the team as a whole — understand how important the next three games of the season are and the impact of these games on the team's hopes of winning a national championship.

"A national championship," Pasichnuk said when asked on the team's goal this season. "That was our goal. Our freshman class, we got together when we came here and said, 'We’re going to a national championship'...that’s why I didn’t go pro this year. We have the team to do it and I truly believe that."


Reach the reporter at aklatsky@asu.edu and follow @averyklatsky on Twitter. 

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