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ASU Hockey: Vermont Preview

Back to action at home

Richard Martinez/House of Sparky

Arizona State (6-4) is back to the ice this weekend to take on Vermont (1-8-1) at Oceanside Ice Arena following two weekends without any games.

The Catamounts come into Tempe with a rough start to their season thus far. The team’s lone win came in the second game of the season at St. Lawrence. Vermont also picked up a tie on the road at Boston University last weekend, but they are 0-6-1 in Hockey East Conference play.

Now venturing across the country just after Thanksgiving, the Catamounts schedule doesn’t lighten up with a non-conference series against a Sun Devil squad that is playing its best hockey of the season so far, as ASU has won five of its last six games.

Here are a few more things to know about Vermont, and the two-game set:

What Time/Where to watch

The series will be this Friday, Nov. 29 and Saturday, Nov. 30. The games can be viewed on the Pac-12 Live Stream.

Players to watch

In an offensively-starved lineup, Vermont has only registered 34 points this season as a team. For perspective, ASU has tallied 89 points among 16 different players.

The Catamounts leading scorer is freshman defenseman Andrew Lucas, who has four assists and one goal.

Furthermore, the team’s leading goal-scorers are junior defenseman Christian Evers, junior forward Alex Esposito, and sophomore forward Joey Cipollone, who all have three goals apiece.

Between the Pipes

In net, Vermont senior goaltender Stefanos Lekkas has logged all of the minutes.

He has held down the fort, registering a .911 save percentage and a 2.71 goals against average while making 277 saves on 304 shots. He also has one shutout in the lone victory of the season.

ASU head coach Greg Powers had high praise for the netminder who was in the top-10 for the Mike Richter Award (top goaltender in college hockey) last season.

“He’s really good. He’s maybe the best goalie in college hockey,” Powers said. “He can win games, so we are going to have to be creative with how we generate offense and score.”

Series History

This part of the preview will be short, and that’s because this is the first-ever meeting between ASU and Vermont.

What coach had to say about the opponent

Coach Powers: “This is a good team. I know they have one win but on film, they are good. They play everybody tight, they play heavy, and we are not taking this team lightly.”

Other notes

-With two weeks off, the Sun Devils earned health benefits. Senior forward Brett Gruber and junior forward Fil Buncis have both been sidelined due to injury, but both will be healthy and ready to go this weekend.

“We are excited to get Fil and Grubs (Gruber) back. They’ve been big holes, and we’ve gotten through it winning five of six,” said Powers of the returns from injury. “We are excited to get both of them back.”

-It’s still early on, but heading into December, some eyes start to peer at the PairWise rankings. Although ASU is not ranked in the USCHO top-20, they have 33 votes to be in. Furthermore, if the tournament started today, they’d have a great shot to get in. The Sun Devils are currently ranked No. 14 in the PairWise.