Wildcat hockey wins game, playoff spot for nationals

Simon Asher | The Daily Wildcat Arizona State's Zach Kowalchuk tries to stop the puck while Arizona's Tyler Griffith chases it down.

It was not the average hockey game with a score of 6-1, a fight over a glove, and a goalie fight.

Since it was the last home game of the season, it was an honorary night for seniors in which they did a skate around the ice before the game and they were all applauded for their accomplishments with the team.

While it was an emotional moment, it didn’t feel like the end of an era. It was as if the Wildcats knew they were on track to win the game and secure their spot for the ACHA National Tournament in Columbus, Ohio.

The biggest storyline of the game was the pure emotions shown on the ice because of everything that was on the line. There was about a ten minute stoppage while penalties were assessed after a strange string of events.

Arizona’s Jake Dickison was taken down in a corner and ASU gloves flew. One of those gloves was pushed away by Roy Grandov, and later picked up and taken to the Arizona bench by Nick Zellmer. An ASU player noticed this and came over to the bench to retrieve it, and the two proceeded to tug and argue over the glove.

Once the ASU player got the glove, he proceeded to lunge and punch at the Arizona bench, to which several Wildcats fought back. Grandov was still on the ice and took it upon himself to tackle the Sun Devil to the ground.

A period later, goaltender Austin Wilson participated in his second career fight.

Arizona’s six goals were scored by Josh Larson, Robert Smythe (2), Justin Plumhoff, and Chris Westlund (2).

Josh Larson:

Robert Smythe’s first:

Chris Westlund’s first:

Despite the onslaught of offensive, head coach Chad Berman was not impressed with the play of the team and said there was not much of a change in play from the Friday shootout loss, and the regulation win Sunday.

"We got a lot to clean up... I don't think we really had a great period this weekend. It wasn't really clean, it was kinda–just inconsistent. Like I said, there's a lot to work on, a lot to feel good about," Berman said.

With the National Tournament in mind, since the upcoming matchup against UNLV has no reflection on their standings, Orion Olsen had one goal in mind.

"It's do or die. Leave it all out there. There's literally nothing to save it for. Last few games of hockey coming up here, obviously wanna end the season on a win. That's the goal," Olsen said.

Feb. 23 and 24 the Wildcats will travel to Las Vegas to take on UNLV to keep their legs fresh before the National Tournament begins March 8.

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