ASU Hockey Player Preview: Liam Norris

Photo: Allyson Cummings

Now that he is healthy, Liam Norris could be a part of the best second line in the ACHA.

Warrior.

That could be the one word to describe Liam Norris' career with Arizona State hockey. The main reason for the description is Norris' ability to battle a nagging injury and solidify his spot as a top-six forward just days after coming back on the ice.

Nobody said it would be easy to return after sustaining a concussion, but Norris did not give up the hope of being able to lace up his skates and play with his teammates again. In fact, there was one point where Norris' hockey career could have ended because of a few setbacks during his comeback.

But he would not let that stop him.

"Obviously it sucked to miss most of last year, but the plan is to stay healthy this year. I'm 100 percent and ready to go," Norris said.

Some fans may have overlooked this injury last year because the Sun Devils were still a top-three team all season even without their second line center. Insert his four goals and 15 assists in a 19 game span and then people see how much production was lost.

He was one of the six skaters who averaged at least a point per game and he takes pride in his simplistic approach on the ice.

Norris said the biggest strength he brings is "just playing smart and getting Kale (Dolinski) and Mac (Danny McAuliffe) the puck so they can score."

The Calgary, Alberta native is the definition of playmaker and he realizes that the goals will come if he has chemistry and an unselfish approach with his linemates.

"Obviously we played all the games we were healthy together last year and you know we have a lot of chemistry," Norris said with a smile. "Right at the beginning of camp you can feel it that we are going to have a good year. Just trying to stay healthy and win a National Championship this year."

It never hurts to play alongside two of the team's four captains. McAuliffe and Dolinski combined for 53 goals last year and their junior center played a critical role to that success in the first few and final few months. The three of them are so effective because they trust one another and know their style of play.

"As soon as we got together, we seemed to just have it," Norris said. "Always supporting each other and someone is always open. Kale's got that shot and we know he is always going to be there in the slot and always supporting the corner so you never have to worry about being the lone man (against the boards) when you're around those guys."

Two years ago, Norris accumulated 30 points in 36 games and he is on the verge of a year to remember now that he is healthier and stronger thanks to his offseason workouts. Not to mention, the 6-foot, 180-pound center plays exceptionally well in the big games. In six games against the Arizona Wildcats, he scored two goals and added six assists and he finished with five points in the 2013-13 ACHA National Tournament.

There is no doubt this Arizona State team is better with Norris and great things happen when he is on the ice.

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