ASU Hockey: Daccord returns to his roots in homecoming against Boston University

TEMPE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 08: Arizona State Sun Devils mascot "Sparky the Sun Devil " performs during the college football game against the Michigan State Spartans at Sun Devil Stadium on September 8, 2018 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
TEMPE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 08: Arizona State Sun Devils mascot "Sparky the Sun Devil " performs during the college football game against the Michigan State Spartans at Sun Devil Stadium on September 8, 2018 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The Sun Devils return to the northeast for the fourth time this season. This time, it’s about as close to home as it gets for junior goaltender Joey Daccord.

Daccord and his Arizona State team get to face off against the Boston University Terriers in Boston for the first time in history. ASU’s star goaltender grew up just over a 30-minute drive away in a town named North Andover in Massachusetts.

“He’s been fortunate we’ve been back there (New England area) quite a bit in his three years to have him have the opportunity to play in front of family and friends,” coach Greg Powers expressed about the moment for Daccord.

When the Sun Devils step on the ice Friday night, there will be several spectators close to Daccord in attendance, including his father, Brian, and mother, Daniela. Brian has been Joey’s goaltending coach since his early years.

His family, that’s been with him every step of the way since he was born, joined with childhood and high school best friends is an equation that adds up to something very special for the junior.

“It’s always fun having the people that helped me get to where I am today come see me play,” Daccord said. “It’s always a fun time playing the New England schools. Those are schools that I grew up watching, especially the ‘Beanpot’ schools (Boston College, BU, Harvard and Northeastern). It’s pretty fun to play against them, and especially to have so many friends and family come this weekend, it’s going to be a really good time.”

Daccord and ASU already faced Harvard and BC this season. The North Andover-native had a 32-save outing to complete his sixth shutout of the season and a weekend sweep of the Eagles in Arizona on Jan. 5.

“It’s something I can’t explain,” Daccord said after the win. “Growing up in the Boston area, everybody wants to go to BC or BU, and BC was my dream school growing up…so, it’s pretty cool to beat them.”

To top it all off, his younger brother, Alex, gets to witness him play. Alex is a freshman at the NCAA Division II school of Saint Anselm in New Hampshire where he also straps on the pads as a goaltender.

“He wasn’t able to come last time because he had games as well,” Daccord explained. “But this weekend his team’s off, so he’s going to be able to come see me play.”

Beantown, the Hub, the City Upon a Hill. These are some of the nicknames given to the beautiful and historic city of Boston.

America has expanded west from the area since the Revolutionary War in which the country gained its independence.

And with that, so much culture has derived from Boston, including some very rich sports history.

The Boston Red Sox broke a close to a century-long curse to win the World Series in 2004, and recently claimed it again in 2018. And don’t forget about the Celtics – a string of championships each respectively from hall of famers, Bill Russell and Larry Bird, and in 2008 with help from the new “Big Three” era.

The NHL’s Boston Bruins ended a 39-year championship drought in 2011, causing the entire city of Vancouver to riot with a game seven victory. And last but not least, it’s extremely hard to deny the dynasty that the New England Patriots have built under coach Bill Belichick and their legendary quarterback Tom Brady, Daccord’s all-time favorite player.

“I think one of the best things he’s known for is his preparation, and that’s something that I’ve tried to translate into my game.” Daccord said about Brady. “Just that preparation and that mentality that he goes in and expects to win every night. He’s just a great competitor and that’s something that I’ve really looked up to my whole life.”

Daccord was selected 199th overall in the seventh round of the 2015 NHL Draft by the Ottawa Senators.

Coincidentally, Brady was infamously drafted in the same exact spot at No. 199 way back in 2000 when Daccord was only three-years-old.

Brady left Daccord on the edge of his seat the whole time last Sunday during the NFL’s AFC Championship game between the Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs. The future hall of famer led his team down the field to punch in the game-winning touchdown in overtime, sealing the quarterback’s ninth trip to the Super Bowl, the most in NFL history.

Now, Daccord is making history of his own.

The junior has been nominated for the prestigious Hobey Baker Award this season, an annual award given to the best college hockey player in NCAA Division I. He joins teammate Johnny Walker as the first-ever Sun Devils to be nominated.

“It’s a pretty special honor to be considered for an award like the Hobey Baker,” Daccord said as he digested the thought. “It’s pretty incredible. I think a big credit goes to our team and how well we’ve played this year, and I’ve just been a by-product of that. It’s really been a team effort.”

It’s also a strong possibility that Daccord will be a finalist contender for the Mike Richter Award, which is handed out to honor the most outstanding goaltender in NCAA men’s hockey.

The nomination for the Hobey Baker, however, definitely didn’t come out of the blue. Daccord is having a record year in net – one that has already engraved him as the best ASU goalie in the young program’s history to this point.

In his third collegiate season, the Senators draft pick has a .930 save percentage, the seventh-best in the NCAA, and is tied for the most wins with 16. He holds the best mark in the country for shutouts with six.

“The ride’s been fun so far,” Daccord said. “It’s just been when you win, it’s fun. Winning’s fun and everyone’s happy and in a good mood. Wins breed other wins because you build the momentum and you start moving in that direction where you build a culture where it’s expected to win.”

All of ASU’s wins have come with Daccord starting between the pipes. The Sun Devils rolled to a program-best 11 wins that was achieved way back on Nov. 17. Now, the team is knocking on the doorstep of a tournament bid for the first time in history.

Daccord and his squad head to Boston knowing how crucial this weekend’s series is within the rankings and projections. But the team is confident with its mentality of approaching only what’s right in front of them.

“I think we’re just trying to win each game that comes at a time,” Daccord said. “If we happen to win both this weekend, it would be awesome for our team. I think it’d be a big help in achieving our goal, and that’s making the NCAA Tournament.”

Next. ASU Hockey: Peter Zhong’s unlikely journey to Arizona State. dark

In a weekend in playing in front of his people, for everything that’s at stake, the talented goaltender will look to channel his inner-Tom Brady. Greatness has the chance to be on display yet again in Boston.

All quotes in this article were obtained firsthand by Devils in Detail unless otherwise noted.