Alyssa Ayers makes big impact for ASU women's hockey after hiatus

Ayers is making a big impact during her first season playing college hockey

Two weeks ago, Alyssa Ayers picked up her first point as a college hockey player on a game-winning goal in overtime. For Ayers, the point not only helped her team win, but also served as long overdue personal victory.

Ayers is a sophomore forward for the ASU women’s hockey team — this is her first season with the Sun Devils after not playing competitive hockey for three years.

Ayers attended ASU her freshman year, but left to work a full-time job for two years before re-enrolling at the University to play hockey.

“It was the hockey program (that made me return),” Ayers said. “I still felt like I wasn’t ready to go back to school. I just needed some time off, and I was feeling kind of burnt out after my first year. I thought about coming back when I heard they were starting it (the hockey program) … so I decided to come back to ASU.” 

In ASU’s last series against Colorado State, Ayers tallied two points and was placed on the top line of the power play unit, and she worked on the penalty kill to add some valuable ice time on special teams.

“At the beginning, we kind of put the special teams with what we knew,” ASU head coach Lindsey Ellis said. “Through game one and two, just through her play on the ice, she proved right away that is where she needs to be, and she proved that is her spot.”

Ayers is originally from Port Huron, Michigan, where she played high school hockey for four years.

“Port Huron is a super small town,” Ayers said. “Everybody knows everybody, and there is two high schools. ... It’s definitely different out here because it’s so big. Back home, it took 10 minutes to drive everywhere.”

As for her transition back to the ice this season, Ayers has been versatile, playing both in the offensive zone and the defensive zone to help make up for limited numbers on ASU’s roster.

“She is getting more and more comfortable on the ice and with the team, and you can tell by her play,” Ellis said. “Her being able to make those drives to the net and make those defensive plays, it makes her a strong presence.”

On Oct. 13, one of Ayers’ drives to the net led to an ASU victory against Colorado State as one of her shots opened the door for a rebound attempt for ASU senior defenseman and captain KC McGinley. McGinley proceeded to score the game-winning goal in overtime, giving Ayers her first point as a Sun Devil.

While McGinley and Ayers put the game away on that night, the two have developed camaraderie off the ice as well.

Prior to ASU’s sweep of Colorado State in Tempe, the campus was closed for a short period due to fall break on Oct. 7-10. 

McGinley and Ayers made the most of their short hiatus by taking a trip to Orange County. The two teammates spent some time at the beach, and also took part in a spin class in Southern California before returning to Tempe. 

McGinley is one of the vocal leaders for ASU, and she often keeps the team loose with her humor during ASU’s early morning practices. In contrast, Ayers is less vocal, but the two teammates have their own way of working off of one another. 

“She’s just so much fun, and so down to earth and so sarcastic and funny, and always makes me laugh,” McGinley said. “She is quiet though, so she is sneakily funny, but I am so loud, so I think we balance each other out well.”

As for her play on the ice, the senior captain has loved what she has seen from her new teammate.

“She just is someone that will get the job done. She is making good plays, and she will start scoring soon,” McGinley said. “… She is someone that I love having out on the ice, and I never worry when she is out there.

“I am really excited for her future with this program. She is going to be a very important asset to the team for the next few years.”

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