Wildcat hockey blew 1-0 leads two nights in a row to lose two more painful games to Arizona State to close out the season.
No. 20 Arizona (15-22-1) lost two games late to ASU, extending their winless streak against the Sun Devils to 32 games and four full seasons.
“It’s almost the same recurring nightmare,” head coach Sean Hogan said. “We’re right there with them and it’s just…I mean how many posts did we hit the post [Saturday] night?”
The sellout crowd of over 6,000 saw the Sun Devils beat Arizona 3-1, including an empty net goal on Saturday, one day after 5,825 saw ASU win 2-1.
“We had so many chances, we out played them honestly 60 minutes of each game,” freshman defenseman Bryan Drazner said. “We deserved that game, they know that they didn’t deserve that game. It’s the two most frustrating losses I’ve been part of that’s for sure.”
With 11:58 to go in the first Saturday, Drazner scored a power play goal. About seven minutes later, Arizona State tied it with a power play goal of their own.
Arizona killed almost nine minutes of penalties to close the second period and start the third, including two five on three ASU advantages, one for two minutes.
Drazner said they were able to kill the penalties because of “heart.” Hogan called a rare second period time out to rally the Wildcats.
“Coach came in and talked about it being the seniors’ last 120 minutes,” Drazner said. “So we rallied behind them and we proved that we can hang with any team in the country.”
Hogan said to see one team get so many penalties called on them in a rivalry game “didn’t feel right.”
“We ran our structured PK real well, it was a tribute to the guys, they worked hard,” Hogan said.
With 7:42 left, ASU scored the game winner and added an empty net goal with ten seconds remaining after Arizona nearly tied it.
“Then at the end with 10 seconds left, we have a chance to bury it and it just gets tipped out and they score an empty netter,” Hogan said.
Sophomore Bob Schultz started both nights and made 40 saves Saturday. He was honored with the four seniors, as he is transferring to pharmacy school.
“We’ll miss all those guys,” Hogan said.
Arizona lost 2-1 to ASU on Friday. In the first period, the Sun Devils were awarded a penalty shot with 1:25 left, but Schultz stopped it.
In the second period, with 4:13 left, sophomore forward Mike Ferreira scored, from an assist from junior forward Andrew Murmes.
In the first few seconds of the third period, ASU tied it. Then with 2:16 left, the Sun Devils scored the game winner off of a deflection off of a defenseman’s back.
Arizona went 0-7-1 against ASU this year and 0-4 at home.
“The streak’s pretty long now, but again, we’re talking about a streak against a team that’s No. 1 or No. 2 in the country, last year and a half or so,” Hogan said. “The streak will end and sooner or later we’ll be the stronger team.”
Hogan said “the future is bright for Wildcat hockey” and that a goalie recruit visited and committed after Friday’s game.
“This is a rebuilding year, next year we’re going to come back stronger and we expect to beat them four, five, six, seven, eight, nine times,” Drazner said.