Photo: Allyson Cummings)
The talented ASU forward and his teammates got a quick break from hockey, but it's now time for the No. 1 team in the ACHA to get back to work.
This past weekend was a great break for Arizona State students and athletes to spend time with their friends and family. But for one Sun Devil forward, Thanksgiving weekend gave him a chance to take a small break from hockey.
"Thanksgiving is always good," Danny McAuliffe said. "I'm one of the few guys actually from Arizona so it was just a short drive home to Scottsdale for me. But it's always good to get a good meal and spend time with the family."
Since McAuliffe was 16 years old, he has lived away from home to play hockey in places like Chicago, Maine and Massachusetts. The past three years, however, McAuliffe has not had to travel to pursue his hockey career as he plays for the Sun Devils.
"Playing close to home is a treat," McAuliffe said. "The interest and the notoriety that we have gotten this year has been great. We have a very good team here and I think once people find out that ASU has a hockey team, and a successful one, people will want to find out what we are all about."
McAuliffe has been a critical part of the program transforming into one of the best teams in the American Collegiate Hockey Association. Though his stat line of nine goals and 20 assists is impressive, the Scottsdale native has always put the team in front of his individual accomplishments.
"As far as me personally, I just want to contribute. You know, I want score goals, I want to make plays, make hits, just do all the things we need to help us be more successful," McAuliffe said.
McAuliffe wears an "A" on his jersey because head coach Greg Powers recognizes his junior forward as a leader. He currently plays wing on the second line for one of the deepest teams in the league. It is a deep team that happens to be a perfect 18-0 on the season heading into the weekend series against Penn State.
Like many of his teammates, McAuliffe wants a national title to back up this season's accomplishments. An unblemished record doesn't mean much if ASU is not the top team to end the season.
"It is nice to make a statement in the league and to the country that we are a legitimately competitive hockey team but I would still say that we have yet to play our best hockey," McAuliffe said. "Last weekend in Oklahoma was the closest thing to it and we still are missing key guys in our line up. It would be scary what we can do with a fully developed and healthy line up."
For now, the Danny McAuliffe and the Sun Devils will work with what they have. And what they have right now is a recipe for success.