The clock continues to tick on the No. 16 Arizona State (17-10-1) hockey season, as the Devils enter a pivotal six-game stretch of games toward the postseason.
This week, the Sun Devils head to the state of New York to take on the Rochester Institute of Technology (12-9-3). This weekend’s games close out what has been over a month of games on the road.
ASU has returned back to Tempe in between three road trips, but this week will be the team’s third voyage back East before finally returning to play at Oceanside Ice Arena on Feb. 15 and 16.
However, those games are in two week’s time, and what lies ahead is the first of two series’ against teams from the Atlantic Hockey Conference. Here are a few more things to know about RIT.
What Time/Where to Watch
Both games drop the puck at 5:05 p.m. local time. They can be viewed on the Atlantic Hockey’s live stream.
Players to Watch
RIT likes to distribute its wealth. Nine players have double-digit point totals for the Tigers. However, separating himself from the pack on the stat sheet is senior forward Abbott Girduckis, who has 19 assists and 27 points in 24 games played. Additionally, senior forward Erik Brown has 20 points.
Brown leads the team in goals with 12, but Girduckis is the quarterback leading the charge on offense. He sets everything up.
Between The Pipes
In goal, RIT sophomore net minder Logan Drackett has logged most of the minutes for the Tigers this season. He has started in 21 of the team’s 23 games, and he holds a .913 save percentage with a 2.54 goals against average. The Tigers’ backup goaltender, sophomore Ian Adriano, has made 65 saves on 69 shots this year.
This will be the first ever meeting between the two programs.
What the Coach had to say about the opponent:
Coach Powers: “They just work. They are just a very good team. They’ve played some really top program’s this year really tight...They’ve got a great history. They have been to a Frozen Four (2010) and they have a great coach (Wayne Wilson) who has been there for a long time and who has built that program up to what it is today. They have an unbelievable building and fan base. This is going to be a big time series for us and we are excited about it.”
After recording a series split last weekend at Boston University, ASU moved up one spot in the USCHO Rankings, but they dropped to 12th in the Pairwise Rankings. The Devils’ are still in a good spot to reach the NCAA Tournament, but the ice is thin and they likely need to win 4-5 of their next six games to have a shot as an independent program.
Additionally, with last Saturday’s win at BU, ASU cemented its first winning season at the NCAA Division I level. The memento is certainly a positive, but there is still work to be done to make the tournament.