ASU hockey made history this weekend and won the inaugural Ice Vegas Invitational Championship after defeating Michigan Tech, 3-2, Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena.
The Sun Devils (6-12-4) scored the first three goals of the game and it was enough to seal the championship victory. It is the first tournament win in their history as a NCAA Division I program.
“I’m just proud of our guys,” ASU coach Greg Powers said. “It’s a good moment for those kids, they earned it. They’ve been through a ton of adversity. Every one of that had options to go someplace else, and they wanted to come here and build this program for moments like these. They earned this special moment.”
The first D-I college hockey tournament in Las Vegas held many firsts for Sun Devil hockey. The championship game was the first-ever meeting between Arizona State and Michigan Tech.
ASU defenseman Brinson Pasichnuk broke the ice in the first period when he stole the puck away from the Huskies and buried a goal on a breakaway. The sophomore also netted the eventual game-winner in the second period when he fired a shot from the top of the slot that trickled through the pads of MTU goaltender Devin Kero.
“Our team hasn’t experienced anything like that,” Pasichnuk said about the win. “I’m not going to lie, I started tearing up after we won that game. We are definitely going to build off this. Look out, we’re coming.”
Pasichnuk was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament for his efforts in Vegas. The blue-liner accumulated three goals and two assists through the two games.
“We were playing some damn good teams,” Pasichnuk said. “I’m sure everyone wrote us off the first moment we were invited to this tournament, but there’s nothing more than we love as underdogs is proving them wrong and showing them we are in the same league and we are right there. We can beat anyone, it’s just how hard we want to work.”
Freshman Johnny Walker scored the Sun Devil’s second goal of the game. Walker snapped a rocket for a bardown dandy. Forward Anthony Croston and goaltender Joey Daccord were credited with assists.
For Daccord, that was his second assist of the season. The sophomore did it all for the Sun Devils on Saturday night by playing the puck and facilitating offense, and standing tall in net and making highlight reel saves like he has done all season.
Daccord recorded his eleventh 30-plus save game in his last 12 games played with 36 saves on 38 shots from MTU. He was named the Ice Vegas Invitational All-Tournament goaltender.
“That was the best 60 minutes we put together all year,” Daccord said. “It showed in our effort and how hard the guys competed and worked and they made my job easy. It was a really fun game and fun weekend.”
The Huskies did not go away quietly. MTU found life early in the third period when ASU was given a too many men on the ice penalty and took advantage.
Jake Jackson made a great cross-ice pass as senior forward Dylan Steman crashed the net and tipped the puck in over the left shoulder of Daccord. It was the only power-play goal the Sun Devils allowed in the tournament.
With just under four minutes left in the game, the Huskies pulled within a goal. Justin Misiak put a shot on net and Daccord couldn’t collect the rebound and Greyson Reitmeier tucked in the loose puck.
The Sun Devils fended off a fierce attack to finish from the Huskies to finish the game. ASU returns home to Tempe and will host UMass-Lowell at Oceanside Arena on Jan. 12-13.
All quotes in this article were obtained firsthand by Devils in Detail unless otherwise noted.