ASU Hockey Skates Into NCAA Tournament

Arizona Sports News online

Photos courtesy: Richard Martinez

By Andrew Bell

It took just three years for the Arizona State men’s hockey program to make their first NCAA Division I tournament.

In only their third full year as an independent program, ASU sealed a bid to the tournament. The Sun Devils went 21-12 this season. They recorded eight series sweeps, with notable wins coming against Boston College, Boston University, Colorado College, American International College and Michigan State.

“I think what’s special about this group is they came here to set a standard and be the tradition,” AUS head coach Greg Powers said. “They have now set the standard and this is what we expect every season. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t expect it.”

The NCAA postseason tournament is a 16-team field since there are only 60 total teams in Division I hockey. ASU is a 3-seed in the Midwest Region. They will play No. 2 Quinnipiac in their opening game on Saturday in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

The other two teams in the regional are No. 4 Bowling Green and No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth. The Bulldogs of UMD are last year’s defending NCAA National Champions who have made the Frozen Four the last two seasons.

ASU does not play in a conference. They are the first independent school to make the tournament since 1992.

Last year, the Sun Devils won just eight games all year. Now they will be playing as one of the top-16 schools in the whole country. They have even exceeded their own expectations.

“We thought as a staff if we can somehow get to .500, it would be a tremendously successful year,” Powers said. “It’s just a special group and and they are battle-tested. They earned the right be where we are today and they know it.”