No. 19 Arizona State (10-6) returns to the ice on the east coast on Friday night against the Princeton Tigers (3-6-1).
ASU head coach Greg Powers listed Princeton’s top line as “one of the best in the country,” earlier this week, and don’t let the 3-6-1 record fool you.
Of the 10 games on Princeton’s schedule, six of them have been against opponents in the USCHO top-20. That number will be changed to eight when ASU plays the ECAC foe this weekend.
The Tigers lost at No. 1 Umass by just one goal in overtime, and they also had to square off against No. 8 Quinnipiac, No. 9 Penn State, and No. 11 Union.
This weekend should be a hard-fought battle for ASU going into the second oldest arena in college hockey at Hobey Baker Memorial Rink. Here is a little more to know about the games, and the Tigers.
What time/Where to watch
Both games drop the puck at 5 p.m. local time. Games can be watched on ESPN+ with a 4.99 monthly subscription required.
Players to Watch
As noted above, the top line for Princeton is lethal. It consists of junior Alex Riche, senior Max Veronneau, and senior Ryan Kuffner.
Kuffner and Veronneau have combined for 29 points, and Veronneau leads the team in assists with 11. The line knows how to light the lamp.
Between the Pipes
Princeton sophomore goaltender Ryan Ferland has played in all 10 games this season for the Tigers. He is 3-6-1 with a .909 save percentage, and he is averaging just under three goals a game.
Backup netminder Austin Shaw has appeared in two games, but expect Ferland to be the number one goalie all weekend long.
It’s one of the oldest hockey programs in the country against one of the youngest this weekend. Although there is a huge difference in the years playing in the NCAA, there is still a short history between the two schools dating back to last season.
Last year in Tempe, ASU fell 4-0 to Princeton before coming back the following night and picking up a 4-3 overtime victory. Former Sun Devil David Norris scored the game-winner, and current sophomore forward Johnny Walker sent the game to overtime with under a minute remaining in the third period by scoring a power play goal.
What the Players/Coaches had to say about the opponent:
Coach Powers on Princeton: “One of the best lines, if not, the best line in the country with two of the very best players in the country (Kuffner and Veronneau)...Their power play is as good as it gets in college hockey, so we are going to have to work to continue to contain that line and stay out of the box.”
Freshman forward Demetrios Koumontzis: “A lot of the guys that were here last year said that they have one of the best lines in college hockey, so I think that’s going to be our main focus, but honestly it’s just another hockey game. I think if we come out ready to play, we can hand it to any team.”
Junior goaltender Joey Daccord: “They got a great top line. They got a deep team, but especially that top line is really where they excel. Our primary focus is just going to be to shut them down.”
ASU and its alumni associations draw big crowds on the east coast. They were loud and proud at Harvard and Penn State earlier this year. Both games in New Jersey will be the same.
Group tickets for the alumni groups are sold out on Saturday. If you aren’t going to the games, don’t be surprised to see and hear a lot of maroon and gold on your streaming device.