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ASU Hockey Year in Review: The Offensive Player of the Year

The Sun Devils were an offensive powerhouse in 2012-2013, but one scorer stood out above them all.

Kale Dolinksi after a goal against Colorado State
Kale Dolinksi after a goal against Colorado State
(Photo: Hekle Photo Images)

There were 55 different teams that competed in the ACHA's top division last season. Of that group, just four managed to top 200 goals on the season, and only one, Adrian (228), was able to score more than Arizona State's 209.

Needless to say, the Sun Devil offense was not too shabby.

A look at the ASU stat sheet tells the red-light tinged story: Six players over 40 points. Three 20-goal scorers. Two 50-point players.

And one Kale Dolinski.

"We're never going to score the pretty goals, but every goal counts"

After the Saskatchewan native transferred to the desert prior to the 2011-2012 season, he wasted no time in making an impact, tying for the team lead with 46 points. However, he had bigger things in store for his junior season.

While newcomer Stephen Collins dazzled ASU fans with his otherwordly stickhandling that helped him score 27 goals, and captain Colin Hekle used his savvy and raw power to register 55 points on the year, there was Kale, grinding away on every shift.

Dolinski doesn't play a pretty looking game, but that is by design. He has modeled his style after players who value maximum effort and an overabundance of grit, but while other "grinders" may just deliver big hits, Dolinski adds in countless big plays.

"We're never going to score the pretty goals, but every goal counts, right?" Dolinski told me earlier this year. Yes, Kale, they do count, and as a result, you kept the scorekeepers quite busy this season.

Despite missing six games, Dolinski still managed to lead arguably the ACHA's most talented team with 34 goals and 59 point on the season. He was deadly in all situations, scoring eight times on the power play and thrice on the penalty kill. His goal tally ranked fourth in the entire ACHA.

All told, his production, hustle, and knack for the timely score made Dolinski House of Sparky's pick for Offensive Player of the Year.

Fortunately for ASU fans, and sadly for the rest of the ACHA, Dolinski will be back next year to help lead the offensive charge for a Sun Devil team that is still stinging from their upset loss in the Final Four.

While Dolinski's offensive game seemingly is in tip top form, the humble Canadian does see one area of improvement.

"You don't have to worry about my special move, I'm terrible on breakaways," Dolinski said. "I'd probably shoot, actually. I'd be too scared if I did a deke that I'd juggle the puck and it'd go into the corner. I'd definitely shoot. Where I'd shoot, I probably don't know."

Runners Up: Colin Hekle, Stephen Collins, Danny McAuliffe