TEMPE, Ariz. -- All good things must come to an end.
Friday night, Arizona State's 24-game winning streak to open the 2013-2014 season ended with a hard-fought 2-1 defeat to No. 5 Oklahoma.
In a match-up of the ACHA's top two defenses, goals were indeed a scarcity. Both goalies were outstanding on the night, with the Sooners' Nick Holmes outplaying Robert Levin just enough to notch the upset win.
Much like their previous game this year, a 2-1 Sun Devil win in overtime, this one came down to the wire. Strangely enough, a night after netting 12 goals against No. 11 Central Oklahoma, the Sun Devil offense was the culprit tonight, as ASU's passing woes never allowed a consistent attack.
The loss drops ASU to 24-1-0 on the year.
Both teams came out of the gates evenly matched, with each side generating some momentum throughout the first period, and Levin and Holmes making some big saves.
The Sooners managed to strike first 12 minutes into the game, when Jordan Greenberg's quick shot off a faceoff in the ASU zone bounced up off Levin's arm and over into the net for the lone goal of the first period. It marked just the second time this season that ASU had trailed, with the other time appropriately being the previous meeting between these teams.
ASU's offensive struggles continued into the second period, as Oklahoma's defense did an exceptional job of keeping the front of their net clear of Sun Devils. However, they made just one mistake, and ASU capitalized.
Brian McGinty gained possession behind the OU net, drawing pressure to him. He then found Faiz Khan open in the slot for the one-timer past Holmes.
Unfortunately for ASU, the game did not remain tied for long.
Six minutes after Khan's goal—his third in two nights—a Sooner flurry of shots resulted in a scrum in front of the Sun Devil net. Through the cluster of bodies, Ryan Stouffer found the puck and backhanded it top shelf for the score. It was Stouffer's first goal, and would prove to be the game winner.
In the final period, ASU's attack was better, managing 10 shots in the period, but could not solve Holmes. Their best chance came midway through the period, when ASU had 1:12 of a 5-on-3 power play, but the Sooners' penalty kill unit was outstanding, not allowing the Sun Devils a chance.
For the first time this season, ASU was forced to pull their goalie for the extra attacker in a last ditch effort. Even then, Oklahoma's defense refused to relent, and Greenberg buried an empty net goal with 19 seconds left in the game to secure the upset.
Levin made 23 saves in the loss, dropping to 13-1-0, while Holmes improves to 13-6-0 after his stellar 27-save effort.
These same two teams will conclude the series on Saturday night, with the puck drop set for 7:30.
1st - OU, 8:47: Greenberg (18), assists Johnson, Tylka Powerplay
2nd - ASU, 11:17: Khan (6), assist McGinty
2nd - OU, 5:32: Stouffer (1), assists Dennis, Adams
3rd - OU, 0:19: Greenberg (19), assist Jacobs Empty Net