The transformation of the Sun Devil hockey program has inspired recruits from across the country to flock to Tempe, and forward Brian McGinty flourished in his first season in the desert.
After a full year of playing under head coach Greg Powers, McGinty realizes that he can and will be a leader of this team.
"There is a lot I learned about the program last year. I guess the biggest thing is that this program really is about winning," McGinty said. "The players and coaches genuinely care about trying to win a National Championship. The coaches and staff who run the program are constantly trying to improve it. Playing here is one of the best college experiences a player can have."
The Bethel Park, Penn. native transferred from NCAA Division I Canisius College to proudly wear "Sun Devils" across his chest. The Golden Griffins are missing out because McGinty immediately emerged into the spotlight in the valley. In his first year with the team, he finished in the top five in goals (16), assists (28), points (44) and power play goals (4).
"I'm one of the guys on our team that's looked at to provide offense and produce points," McGinty said. "I think we have some skilled forwards and defensemen that can make plays and help provide some offense. Finding the right chemistry with your linemates will be very important."
McGinty was one of the more consistent forwards on the roster last year and he played in all 44 games. He started the season with three goals and five assists in five games and ended his 2012-13 campaign with at least one point in all three ACHA playoff games. It's safe to say that points came in bundles for the North East skater; he had multi-point performances in 25 percent of the games.
There is no doubt that the 5-foot-11, 190-pound forward has a tremendous offensive skill set, but now he is preparing to be the entire package. Assuming McGinty plays center this season, he will need to develop a strong relationship with his wingers. Last season, he proved he could play with multiple teammates on the top two lines and on the team's power play unit.
The biggest factor missing from McGinty's success last year is former Sun Devil Stephen Collins. Collins' departure has not slowed down the aggressive forward in his preparation for the upcoming season, but the two did see considerable time together on the ice.
If McGinty slides into the third line center role, it could create more mismatches on the ice and ultimately benefit his offensive game. He is not a typical third line checking center, but he brings a level of grit and determination to his game and he will lead by example to the newcomers.
Defenses will have to be mindful of McGinty's wrist shot. He has quick hands, knows how to find the dirty areas, and can flat out score.
McGinty is on the verge of another electric season and what makes him most valuable to this team is that he is a versatile forward and puts the team first.