ASU men's hockey is back on the road to face Holy Cross

The Sun Devils are looking to break their three-game losing streak and redeem their road record

ASU men’s hockey (2-8-2) will spend its Thanksgiving holiday in Worcester, Massachusetts taking on the Holy Cross Crusaders (5-2-5) in a two-game road series.

The Sun Devils are currently on a three-game losing streak after falling 3-1 to Alabama-Huntsville, and then being swept by Penn State this past weekend. 

“We’ve got to stay positive. We have to continue to drill into our guys that we have a specific identity that we have to play to,” head coach Greg Powers said. “When we get away from it, which we have way too consistently, you’re not going to have success.”

ASU lost its first game to Penn State 7-0, but regained some ground in the following game despite losing 4-2. The fourth and final goal for Penn State was also an empty net goal. 

“Penn State is an incredibly good team. I think they are a top-ten team in the country ... you’ll see them back at a tournament and making a run at the Frozen Four,” Powers said. “We have to use Saturday’s effort, even though it’s a loss and we don’t like moral victories, as a confidence booster because when we play the way we can play and have to play, we can hang with anybody.”

A primary focus for ASU this week, just as it was last week, is getting more shots on goal. 

The Sun Devils only generated a total of 40 shots this weekend, 15 of which were in game one against Penn State. The 25 shots in game two is right at ASU’s  25.1 shot average per game so far this season. In each game, Penn State had 49 shots for a weekend total of 98. 

“This week is really focused on getting pucks to the net and just creating shots in general. Last weekend, we didn’t get a lot of shots on net and we gave up a lot of shots against,” sophomore centerman Tyler Busch said. “We’re going to try to flip the switch there and not pass up any chances to shoot the puck.”

Holy Cross is a more defensive minded team than Penn State, but it has still out scored its opponents 38-28 over the course of the season.

The Sun Devils have been out scored by a total of 43-24. 

“There’s no such thing as a bad shot against a team like Holy Cross when all they do is play defense,” redshirt senior centerman David Norris said. “Hopefully we just get tons of shots and test the goalie early too.”

A good start will also be key for the Sun Devils as Holy Cross has scored 15 of its 38 total goals in the first period of play. 

“They’re going to be a tough opponent,” Powers said. “They’re really old – I think they have nine or ten seniors, and they’re playing like they have a lot of kids that are desperate to win the Atlantic Hockey Conference and get to a tournament. So, these are big games for them and they’re really big game for us, and we’re hoping to go out there and get a little streak going.”

This is ASU’s first chance to redeem its road record after going 0-4-2 on its three-week road trip. 

“It’s just another business trip,” freshman left wing Dominic Garcia said. “We’re going to keep doing the same things. We’re going to keep what has been successful for us on the road with our objectives, and just modifying a couple things based on who we play. We don’t like to change too much – we like to play to our style and that’s what we’re going to try to do moving forward here.”

However, the most pivotal thing for the Sun Devils is to implement their style of play against Holy Cross, which will lead to more shots on net and more goals for this team. 

“All we’ve been focusing on this week is manufacturing goals the old-fashioned way, the ugly way ... we’ve got to out compete everybody we play or we stand no chance,” Powers said. 

ASU will face Holy Cross on Friday, Nov. 24th and Saturday, Nov. 25th with both start times slated for 5:05 p.m MST.


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

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