ASU hockey honored the “Founding Fathers” senior class Saturday as the Sun Devils pulled off a 5-4 overtime win over American International on Senior Night.
Sun Devil Hockey honored the five seniors who have been a part of the program for all four seasons at the Division I NCAA level before Saturday’s game against American International College.
The group of seniors were also the starters for Arizona State, taking the first shift in the 5-4 overtime victory for the Sun Devils.
While the seniors stole the pre-game show, it was freshman Demetrios Koumontzis and junior co-captain Tyler Busch who propelled ASU to victory in a hard fought, chippy battle with the Yellow Jackets.
Koumontzis tallied an assist on both goals scored by Busch while adding a goal of his own and an assist on the OT winner, which was scored by fellow freshman PJ Marrocco. Johnny Walker added an assist, bringing his season total to 34 points in 31 games.
The game started off very well for the Sun Devils. After outshooting American International 6-2 in the first five minutes, Filips Buncis put the Devils on the scoreboard, and seniors Hollman and Croston picked up the assists.
Shortly after the goal, American International’s Parker Revering was sent to the penalty box for hooking. On the ensuing faceoff, Tyler Busch fired a shot past Zackarias Skog, doubling the Sun Devils lead with their second goal in less than 45 seconds.
Co-captain Brinson Pasichnuk made a diving stop later in the period to prevent what would have been a 2-on-0 breakaway chance for American International; however, the Yellow Jackets did score eventually in the period, as Kyle Stephan tallied his 10th goal this season.
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Koumontzis scored his fourth goal of the season and second in as many games less than 90 seconds after the American International goal, giving the Sun Devils a 3-1 cushion heading into the first intermission.
“It was a matter of time”, head coach Greg Powers said of Koumontzis settling in late this season. “He’s a special player, and we knew he was going to have a weekend like this. It came at the perfect time.”
The Sun Devil lead increased to 4-1 early in the second period as Busch scored his second goal of the night, thanks in part to Koumontzis dangling the puck between his legs before setting his captain up perfectly in the slot.
Shortly thereafter, tempers began to flare, as Walker earned a coincidental minor with the Yellow Jackets’ Blake Christensen after attempting to throw punches at each other near the penalty boxes.
The penalties ended with the score still at 4-1, and game grew more out of control with every second, until Steenn Pasichnuk was awarded a game misconduct for checking Patrik Demel into the boards from behind.
The referees took some time to settle things down between the two teams, and American International made it a 4-2 game with a later goal from Ryan Polin.
The Pasichnuk brother that was still eligible to play in Saturday’s third period slid to end another great chance for the Yellow Jackets early in the final regulation frame.
The Sun Devils then spent a majority of the third period on the penalty kill, giving up a power play goal early and then allowing their first extra attacker goal of the season with just over a minute remaining in regulation.
Neither team was able to find the back of the net again in regulation, and after a short intermission the teams took the ice for a single sudden-death overtime period. A mere 1:29 into the five-minute OT, Marrocco slid the puck past Skog, giving the Sun Devils their fifth straight home sweep.
“These [seniors] have really helped in embracing the mantra of ‘our home,'” Powers said, “[Oceanside] is our home.”
Arizona State, who improved to 21-10-1 Saturday, will head to Minneapolis in two weeks to close out their regular season at the University of Minnesota.
The Sun Devils finished the 2018-19 home season with a 12-2-0 record at Oceanside Ice Arena, and is currently tied with Cornell and Western Michigan at eighth in the all-important Pairwise rankings.
“These five seniors did everything right, and we’ve said since day one that we were going to make an NCAA Tournament before they leave,” Powers said. “We’re not there quite yet, but things are looking pretty good.”
All quotes in this article were obtained firsthand by Devils in Detail unless otherwise noted.