ASU hockey will play at least the first game of the weekend short-handed as nine suspensions were handed out to team veterans for a violation of team rules, coach Greg Powers said.
“They didn’t break the law or anything like that, but I have rules … that every player has to abide by,” Powers said. “Unfortunately, a large group of players that are important to us did something that was mandatory, and I have to stick by the rules.”
On Monday, the players missed a workout that they were unaware was mandatory after returning from the Oklahoma road trip, a team source said in a statement. Powers said it is considered a minor deal.
It is not known when the players will return. While the suspension is specific to Thursday’s game against No. 7 Delaware, Powers said he will see how things go Thursday to determine if they will return for Friday’s or Saturday’s action.
Powers said he does not plan on using any Division II players and will play with a short roster. He said he still expects to win on Thursday.
On the ice
The other players of the team need to turn their focus onto the ice against No. 7 Delaware.
The Blue Hens (8-1-0), like the Sun Devils (10-0-0), boast a strong underclassmen presence. Delaware’s leading point-scorer is freshman forward Mark Zeszut with 17 points in nine games played. He leads the team with 10 goals. Fellow freshman forward John Redgate is third on the team with 12 points.
Counting Delaware, ASU’s last five opponents have been ranked, and three of those have been ranked inside the top 10.
ASU has played some of the ACHA powerhouses, and Powers said he believes Delaware is the best team that ASU has played all season. While the suspensions of the nine players will hurt, Powers said the team’s depth will show on Thursday.
ASU will finish the weekend with a game against Division II NAU.
ASU plays Delaware on Thursday at 800 p.m. and Friday at 7:30 p.m. The NAU game is Saturday at 7:30 p.m. All games are at Oceanside Ice Arena in Tempe.
(Almost) fully healthy
– Thursday will mark the return of freshman forward Zack Holstrom. Before being injured on Oct. 4 against UA, Holstrom registered eight points in four games.
– Recruited freshman forward Eric Rivard has yet to see the ice, but that could change this weekend. Powers said he is expected to be full healthy by next weekend, but could still play this weekend. The suspensions may speed up his debut.
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