Arizona Rubber

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Nationally-ranked Sun Devils continuing to ‘build this the right way’

 

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Just a few short years ago, many wondered when Arizona State University would make waves across NCAA Division I hockey circles.

This season, the Sun Devils have been doing just that.

In November, ASU turned some heads when the school was ranked No. 18 in the USCHO.com Division I Men’s Poll for the first time. That ranking came on the heels of a sweep over Michigan State University, a split with Penn State University and a sweep over the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

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Sun Devils coach Greg Powers was elated with the ranking (ASU is still ranked, coming in at No. 15 in the Dec. 10 poll), but knows there is still work to be done.

“Getting ranked is certainly a nice milestone for our players and we’re all very proud of what they have done so far this season,” said Powers. “By no means is this our end all, be all. We have big things yet to accomplish as a program and we’ll continue to build this the right way, brick by brick.”

Over the Dec. 7-8 weekend, Arizona State picked up yet another sweep in winning both on the road at Princeton University, including one in overtime Dec. 8 on a goal by Jake Clifford, who was celebrating his birthday.

“That is poetic justice, what happened out there with ‘Cliff,'” said Powers. “It’s his birthday and he’s been a tremendous program builder for us. He’s been through a lot of ups and downs as we’ve grown, and for him to have this big moment on his birthday in his senior year is a good moment for him.”

Powers’ birthday is also Dec. 8.

The previous night, junior goaltender Joey Daccord served Princeton a 45-save shutout on Friday night at Hobey Baker Memorial Rink, as the Sun Devils’ 4-0 win broke a program record for wins in a season.

Daccord’s fourth shutout of the season has him tied for the NCAA lead in the category.

“’Dacs’ was tremendous and he was the reason we won,” said Powers. “Our guys got a nice, gritty, gutty road win and we’ll take it all day.”

The Sun Devils then swept Colorado College at home Dec. 14-15 and tied No. 3 Minnesota State 2-2 at the Desert Hockey Classic on Dec. 29 as Johnny Walker scored with 29 seconds left in the third period.

Photo/Noah Lau/Sun Devil Athletics

— Matt Mackinder

(Jan. 4, 2019)