The Arizona State University Sun Devils made the jump from playing club hockey to NCAA talent during the 2015-16 season, playing a hybrid NCAA and ACHA schedule.
Now, they’re in the midst of their first purely-NCAA season – and the southwestern team has managed to take home their first win over a ranked opponent.
Arizona State earned a 5-2 victory over Air Force on Sunday, taking home a 5-2 decision over the Atlantic Hockey Association roster to win their first Division I game at home and deliver Air Force their first loss of the season. Air Force is currently ranked number 18 in the nation.
From the team’s official press recap of the game:
“Those are two huge benchmarks for us and were two of our goals this year,” said head coach Greg Powers. “One was obviously to get our home win and we’re still looking for a home sweep.
“It was an unbelievable team effort from the net out. (Freshman goaltender) Joey Daccord was incredible. We were good in every facet, we were great on special teams, and you have to be at this level to win and we proved it.”
Daccord, a fifth round draft pick of the Ottawa Senators from the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, took home his first collegiate win with the victory – and captain Dylan Hollman scored the first goal of the game, giving ASU their first NCAA lead of the season. The team would lead for the entirety of the game, receiving tallies from Hollman, Brett Gruber, Tyler Busch (who boasts four goals in four games), Robbie Baillargeon, and Nicholas Gushue before the game ended.
Arizona State will join an NCAA conference next season to officially begin their journey towards hopefully taking home an NCAA championship in the future – and so far, they’ve still got a ways to go before they become a truly competitive roster. Upsetting Air Force at Gila River Arena is certainly a step in the right direction, though.