As I took my first step into the cold and icy New York weather after my five hour flight home, it reminded me of stepping into a local hockey rink I used to go skating at as a kid.
After another exciting and brutally hot three months at ASU, I was reminded that this feeling of brisk, chilly air can only be felt at one location in Tempe: Oceanside Ice Arena.
Rolling out of the Thanksgiving break on Nov. 30, the ASU men’s hockey team looks to defend their #1 American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) ranking when they visit Happy Valley, Penn. to take on Penn State for a two game series.
The Penn St. series has been highlighted on head coach Ken Lind’s calendar since the start of the season, and it was finally time to settle the argument that a “club team” can hang with the Division I competition.
As stated in one of my previous blogs, the ASU hockey team is not recognized by the NCAA, so ASU is left with no scholarships to hand out their players. Whereas Penn St. has a certain number of scholarships that they can give to their student-athletes just like any other NCAA recognized school.
Penn St. will play their fifth and sixth home game of the season against the Sun Devils, hoping to improve on their 6-5 record. ASU is coming out of the holiday break with wins in Oklahoma against Central Oklahoma and Oklahoma University.
This is the first time in the school’s history that the team is ranked number one, and while doing so,the team has outscored their opponents 35-7 in their last seven games, only allowing a season-high five goals against them.
After the two-game series with Penn St., it will mark the half-way point in the season.
If you have not made your way to a home game yet, your best chance is when the team opens 2013 with a 12 game home stand from Jan. 3 to Feb. 2. The Oklahoma teams will be looking for revenge when they come to Tempe, as well as U of A.
All this queues you to go find out the team’s next home game, right?
I’ll save you the tab switching and tell you it is against a fierce Robert Morris team that has put up an impressive 15-1-1 record. The match-up between the #1 ACHA ranked Devils and #3 Eagles should be a shootout, but note that the Robert Morris team’s lone tie and loss have come on the road.
I’ll leave you with a statistic that you can take to Tucson when the Devil’s close the season against U of A: the Wildcats have not seen a win against the Devils in 26 games.
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org