Last year when the Arizona State hockey team traveled to Connecticut to take on the Quinnipiac Bobcats, they left with one of the best wins in program history.
Anthony Croston scored twice for the Sun Devils while net minder Joey Daccord stopped 53-of-55 shots good for a school record in the 4-2 win.
When they met just under a year ago, the Bobcats were ranked 17th in the nation and in the middle of a great season. On the flip side, the Sun Devils were nearing the end of a tough first season as a full division one program.
This season has been a different story for both teams.
The unranked Bobcats (8-12-3) sit at seventh in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference. The Sun Devil (7-13-4), meanwhile, and are in the midst of their best stretch in program history.
New Year, New Beginnings
In 2018, ASU is 3-1-0 with wins over UMass-Lowell, Michigan Tech, and Northern Michigan with an Ice Vegas Invitational tournament win on their resume as well.
Following a dreadful 2017 slate, freshman forward Johnny Walker said ASU has taken a new approach in 2018.
“We talked before Ice Vegas Tournament that it’s a new year in 2018,” Walker said. “We’re going to put 2017 behind us and we made a few goals and we’re just starting over.”
The strategy seems to be working so far and it can largely be traced back to the elite performance of guys like Walker and others such as Brinson Pasichnuk and Tyler Busch.
Young Guns stepping up
Pasichnuk leads the team in points, but with seven goals each, Busch and Walker are the leading goal scorers, as Walker punched in two in the Sun Devils’ 4-0 win over UMass-Lowell.
It seems only fitting that such a young program is being led by such young players. They slowly are forming into a competitive division I program.
If the team is to have continued success against Quinnipiac and then again next weekend against Boston, it’s these young players that have to continue leading by example, regardless of experience.
Both games this weekend against Quinnipiac are set for 7:05 MST, however, Friday night’s matchup will be at Oceanside while Saturday’s puck drop is in Glendale at Gila River Arena.
The Bobcats look to end a three-game winless skid, while the Sun Devils try to keep their hot streak in 2018 alive.