It’s not very often where ASU has an athletic team ranked No. 1 in the country.
For the ASU hockey team, that feat was accomplished Thursday without having to win a game so far this week.
As coach Greg Powers and his Sun Devils head south to Tucson Friday to take on the Wildcats, they will be boasting the No. 1 ACHA ranking and the only undefeated record in the country.
This is the first time in program history that the Sun Devils boasted the nation’s top ranking.
“We were on the ice (Thursday), and I got off and came into the (locker) room, checked my phone and had 24 text messages,” Powers said. “I made a quick announcement in the locker room and (the players) were pretty excited as they should be. They’re the ones who earned it.”
Powers has been a part of the coaching staff for six years and is now in his third year as head coach.
When Powers and his staff took over three years ago, they strived to bring in top talent and instill disciplined hockey to take the Sun Devils to the top.
Powers has put together the talent to become the best, but he knows the job isn’t close to being done.
“It’s a great accomplishment,” Powers said. “However, our players and staff are not doing this to be ranked No. 1 mid-season. We’re doing it to be ranked No. 1 at the end of the season.”
The Sun Devils took over after former No. 1 Ohio University lost to No. 12 Liberty University 4-3 on Oct. 27.
Powers knows other teams want to beat the Sun Devils especially because of ASU’s prestige, but he feels it’s been that way all year.
“We’ve had quite a bit of hype surrounding us all year,” Powers said. “Obviously now that we are No. 1, the target just got bigger.”
The Sun Devils have distinctly separated themselves as the No. 1 team in the country by beating four ranked teams thus far, but there is still a lot more room for improvement, Powers said.
“This team isn’t even close to playing its best hockey yet, and that is a good thing at this stage in the season.”
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