ASU hockey beats UofA for 34th consecutive game

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By Brad Denny By Brad Denny

TEMPE, Ariz. -- For a while, it looked like it would be a close game. For a while, it appeared that the University of Arizona may be able to get their first win over Arizona State since early 2009.

Just for a while.

The Sun Devils made it 34 consecutive victories over the Wildcats with a 6-0 victory on Saturday night. The game was scoreless until the middle of the second period, but then the floodgates opened. ASU scored four times in the third period to secure the win, and goalie Robert Levin stopped all 22 Wildcat shots to notch his second consecutive shutout of the young season.

Arizona showed no signs of being demoralized after their 5-1 loss to ASU on Friday. Their defense was much more stout, and neither team was able to generate many quality chances in the opening period.

ASU began to assert themselves in the second period, firing some quality shots onto Wildcat goalie Dylon Hojnacki. In the latter half of the second period, ASU was able to breakthrough when Liam Norris was able to knock in a rebound. 

It looked like the 1-0 margin would hold into the final period, but freshman Chris Burkemper was able to slide in a rebound off Hojnacki just under the goalie's glove with 44 seconds remaining in the period. 

With renewed momentum, ASU dominated the final period.

Sean Ritchie floated a puck past Hojnacki early in the period, and a little over three minutes later, Kale Dolinski one-timed a perfect pass from the point by Jordan Young in for the 4-0 lead.

Four minutes later, Burkemper scored his team-high fifth goal of the year on a sensational play. As he fell to the ice, he was able to  poke the puck just under a diving Hojnacki for the score. Danny McAuliffe put the icing on the cake later in the period when Hojnacki, skating out from his crease, badly misplayed a puck. McAuliffe then was able to fire in an easy goal on the empty net.

The story of the game was the Sun Devil defense that made life easy for Levin, After shutting out Weber State in his last appearance, Levin notched a second shutout to lower his ACHA-leading goals-against-average to a microscopic 0.40. He improved to 2-0-0 on the year, while Hojnacki fell to 1-3-0 after stopping 41 of the 47 ASU shots.

Arizona State will travel to Chicago next weekend for a two-game series against the Illinois Fighting Illini, who the Sun Devils eliminated from last year's national tournament quarterfinals. 

Scoring Summary

2nd - ASU, 7:20 - Norris (3), unassisted

2nd - ASU, 0:44 - Burkemper (4), assist Temby

3rd - ASU, 16:27 - Ritchie (1) assists Jantzie, Hekle

3rd - ASU, 13:00 - Dolinski (4) assists Young, Norris

3rd - ASU, 9:18 - Burkemper (5) assist McGinty

3rd - ASU, 6:35 - McAuliffe (2)