Preview: ASU men's hockey faces Nebraska-Omaha

The Sun Devils look to improve their 0-2 road record in Omaha

ASU men’s hockey (1-3-0) is set to continue its road trip against Nebraska-Omaha (1-1-0) this weekend after losing to Air Force in two one-goal games, with final scores of 4-3 and 3-2 respectively. 

The Sun Devils are now currently on a three-game losing streak as they split their series with UMass Amherst before they were swept by Air Force

“I think we have to use two really close games ... that we know we could have won, to our advantage and the make us hungrier,” head coach Greg Powers said. “I think that’s what you see today — a hungry group, a positive group, a supportive group. We’re as confident today as we would have been if we went 2-0.”

Powers said the team could be better than their record indicates.

“We feel like we could easily be 3-1, maybe even 4-0, right now,” Powers said. “It’s just the details that a young team has to focus on that we need to polish up. The effort is there, the detail is not.”

One of these details is ASU’s power play. The team went 1-10 in the series against Air Force, with the lone power play goal being scored by freshman defenseman Jacob Wilson in the first game. Another power play goal was scored by junior centerman Anthony Croston in the second game, but it is not included in the stats as it was disallowed.

“We want to get some production out of the power play,” Powers said. “The power play is sharp. It has got a ton of possession; it’s wearing them down. We’re getting chances, but we’re just not converting.”

ASU is being outscored seven goals to 12 by its opponents so far in the regular season. 

“I think we’re getting chances and quality chances,” sophomore goalie Joey Daccord said. "The puck is just not going in. Whether it’s the goalie making a save, or the puck hits the post, or we miss the net by an inch, we’re right there. It’s close, and it’s a long season so it’ll all even out.”

In order to be successful against Nebraska-Omaha this weekend, ASU will have to capitalize more on all types of offensive opportunities, whether on or off the power play.

Omaha and ASU did not face each other last season, but Omaha beat ASU in both of its games the season prior, 3-1 and 6-0. 

“Omaha is just a really good team,” Powers said. “They’re probably going to have a little bit more talent than anybody we’ve played, but we feel like we can beat anybody. We’re going in there with the expectation to win.”

This mindset comes with the assumption the Sun Devils will be playing their style, which they did not do until the end of each game against Air Force. 

“We want to start where we finished off,” junior defenseman Jake Clifford said. “We got down early and what we want to do is get up and work downhill instead of having to go uphill.”

Additionally, ASU has to find more consistency in all levels of their game, whether it be playing to its identity or mental preparation. 

“It’s just mental prep, coming out ready to go like we did Friday against UMass,” Powers said. “That was the only game we came out completely ready to go.”

If the Sun Devils are able to start games this weekend as well as they finished them the week before, their losing streak may become a thing of the past.

“If we bring out intensity and step it up from last week’s games, we’ll put ourselves in a good position to win some game,” Daccord said.

The Sun Devils look to improve their road record against Nebraska-Omaha Oct. 20 at 6:07 p.m.


Reach the reporter at pburnell@asu.edu or follow @paige_burnell on Twitter.   

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