The Arizona State University hockey program is still a work in progress, however the program may have just sped up that progress a few notches last weekend in Ohio. The Sun Devils, which begin their first full season of NCAA hockey in October took perhaps their biggest step in their development with a 2-2 tie and subsequent shoot win against the 10th ranked team in college hockey, the Ohio State Buckeyes Saturday in front of national television audience on ESPNU.
ASU entered the weekend series with the Buckeyes as severe underdogs and after a 6-1 defeat on Friday night, the team from the desert southwest seemed primed for another long weekend. However instead of going into a shell, the Sun Devils responded with their best performance of the season, ending in a thrilling shoot out victory and in the process let the world know they were going to be a team to be reckoned with from this game forward. "I really think the guys were angry after the way Friday's game went and channeled that angry the right way," said ASU Head Coach Greg Powers.
All season the Sun Devils have struggled with giving up goals in bunches and this game was similar in the fact the Devils gained a one goal lead only to have the Buckeyes respond with two goals in a span of less than two minutes to close out the second period with a 2-1 lead. When Powers entered the locker room he could sense things were different and when the team returned to the ice for the third period they proved that Powers' intuition was correct.
While the game did wonders for the team and senior goaltender Rob Levin it also may have been the biggest step in the programs history to date. Levin's performance was a microcosm of his career at ASU and how Powers envisioned the program's growth. Levin the cool, calm and collected backstop had been in that position before, after all he was a big part of the ASU ACHA D1 team which won a national championship just a few years earlier and responded with a great game, overtime and shoot out to earn the win.