Early in November, it was announced that five ASU hockey players were selected to the U.S. Men’s National University team. On Sunday, they will compete in Italy, leaving their team back in Tempe short-handed.
Senior forwards Danny McAuliffe and Brian McGinty, sophomore defenseman Jordan Young, freshman defenseman Alex Temby and freshman forward Sean Murphy will play in Italy on Dec. 8. All will miss No. 1 ASU’s (21-0-0) games on Friday and Saturday in Tucson against rival UA.
“We still like our chances,” said ASU coach Greg Powers. “I would still take our team over just about anybody.”
The five players have combined for 89 points this season. McAuliffe is second on the team in goals with 12 and McGinty and Murphy are tied for third with 11.
Powers said despite being left with a depleted roster, he is still happy for his players and supports them leaving the team for the weekend.
“I would never neglect our players from that opportunity,” he said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to wear the USA jersey, and I want them to go and experience it and hopefully win a medal. … Any coach that would neglect players of that isn’t coaching for the right reasons.”
In addition to those five players, ASU will be missing three more in senior captain Colin Hekle, sophomore forward Kory Chisholm and freshman forward Patrick Yudez. All are expected to miss this weekend’s games against UA with undisclosed injuries.
Junior forward Faiz Khan will return from injury to play for the first time since Nov. 8.
The top defensive pair for the Sun Devils all season has been Young and Temby, and Powers announced the team will call up senior defenseman James Iwaszkiw from the Division II elite team. Iwaszkiw has three goals and four assists in 16 games from the blue line this season.
ASU will play with little room to spare should someone get injured this weekend as it is sending just 12 forwards and six defensemen, the exact amount for four lines and three pairings.
Powers compared this weekend to the Oct. 24 game vs. Delaware, in which nine Sun Devils served suspensions for a violation of team rules. He said he is confident in the team’s depth and expects to win both games.
– Hekle skated in practice Tuesday and said he was feeling better, but Powers said he does not know when the captain will return. Hekle leads the team with 15 goals in 15 games and has not played since Nov. 7 against Minot State.
– ASU will play the weekend’s games without three of its captains. Hekle is injured and McAuliffe and Young are both assistant captains and are going to Italy. Senior forward and assistant captain Kale Dolinksi is the lone Sun Devil with a letter on his chest.
– UA will also be short this weekend, as its coach, Sean Hogan, will serve as an assistant coach for Team USA.
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