ASU women's hockey's schedule features several late night games

The Sun Devils' head coach Lindsey Ellis said it is something to be expected

The ASU football team defeated the No. 5 team in the nation late on Saturday night during a time known as "Pac-12 after dark." While this title might be appropriate for football, there is another sport in Tempe that is playing even later in the evening.

This year, the ASU women’s hockey team has played three games that began after 10 p.m.

“I don’t think it’s going to mess up the pregame routine, but it’s just going to be a little bit later in the day,” ASU head coach Lindsey Ellis said. “That pregame nap is going to be a little longer.”

One of the main reasons for the late start times is due to the limited availability at Oceanside Ice Arena, ASU's home arena. The facility only has one rink, and is home to the women’s team, the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) Division I and II men’s teams, youth leagues, adult leagues and the ASU NCAA Division I team.

“It’s a process, especially with the Junior Sun Devils out of here (Oceanside) and all of their men’s league programs that they run here,” Ellis said. “It’s not easy to schedule, but it’s quite a process. Our schedule is made in January.”

As for who gets the most ice time, the ASU NCAA DI team is the top priority.

“NCAA always gets priority, and then it goes ACHA DI men,” Ellis said. “From there, we get to fill in the blanks with the other DII team.”

At the beginning of October, the ASU NCAA men’s team played the University of Massachusetts Amherst on Friday, Oct. 6 and Saturday, Oct. 7 at 7:05 p.m., while the women’s team took the ice following the men’s game. 

Although the women’s team had to wait a little longer for their game to begin, they definitely did not mind the company, and the back-to-back games definitely produced some entertaining nights of college hockey in Tempe.

“I think it will be cool to watch ASU in an NCAA atmosphere,” Ellis said prior to the men’s game. “Hopefully, their positive environment and crowd can cross over to us.”

Alyssa Ayers, a sophomore forward for ASU, picked up two points during back-to-back games against Colorado State last weekend – helping secure a series sweep.

For Ayers, the late start times have been different compared to when she played in her hometown of Port Huron, Michigan. Nevertheless, she feels that there hasn't been any issues getting ready for the late games.

“I don’t really have a routine,” Ayers said. “I don’t go to bed early and I am always up late, so I don’t think it will be that hard … I don’t think we ever played that late. I think it will be fun.”

This past weekend, ASU played Colorado State at 10:30 p.m. on Friday night, and got right back to business in their second game of the series at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. ASU defeated CSU 2-1, but the Sun Devils went down 1-0 in the first period before eventually taking the reigns in the contest.

“I think we came out a little slow,” ASU senior forward and captain Amber Galles said.

Ellis agreed that the team came out slow in the first game.

“We weren’t prepared,” Ellis said. “We didn’t prepare mentally ... and that’s on us, so we have to be better with that moving forward, and we had a talk as a team about that ... we will change it.”

While the rigorous schedule might be a challenge, Ellis believes it is all a part of the process.

“That’s something they have to expect playing college hockey ... quick turnarounds sometimes,” Ellis said. 

ASU has two more games after 10 p.m. remaining on its schedule. The Sun Devils will play a home game against Assiniboine Community College at 10:10 p.m. at Oceanside Arena on Jan. 12, and they will play a road game in the central time zone when they take on Miami University (Ohio) at 10:15 p.m. on Feb. 9.

In the meantime, ASU will get ready for a tough road assignment in which they play four games in three days in Boulder, Colorado as a part of an ACHA showcase tournament beginning on Nov. 3.


Reach the reporter at atbell1@asu.edu or follow @AndrewBell7 on Twitter.

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