ASU men’s hockey continues to build confidence heading into weekend series

Senior forward Anthony Croston will achieve a milestone this weekend against Nebraska Omaha

When senior forward Anthony Croston skates onto the ice this weekend inside Oceanside Ice Arena, he will accomplish a milestone in Tempe.

A captain and former walk-on, Croston will play in his 100th game as a Sun Devil when ASU hosts a Friday and Saturday night series against Nebraska Omaha. 

“It is crazy,” Croston said. “It feels like just yesterday I was doing orientation at the business school. It is crazy how far I have come and (how) quick (it happened).”

ASU head coach Greg Powers echoed Croston as he described what the senior has meant to ASU, a team in only its fourth season as a Division I program

As his coach, Powers said Croston has been a staple for the Sun Devils on and off the ice. 

“He has been a model of consistency both academically and athletically,” Powers said. “From a leadership standpoint, he embodies everything that we want this program to be about. So, for him to be in his 100th game is a special moment for him ... We are proud of him.”

Whether it is in a game, practice or the weight room, Powers said Croston always “shows up ready to work," and he has developed from a walk-on into a player that can potentially play professionally.

After getting off to its best start in program history, ASU achieved history on Monday as well. 

ASU received a vote in the latest United State College Hockey Online poll, which is the program's first vote in its history. Through six games, and with matchups against Alaska Fairbanks, then-No. 1 Ohio State and Alabama-Huntsville, the team has allowed just eight goals and completed two shutouts.

Despite the recognition, Powers does not seem too impressed.

“Honestly, whatever,” Powers said. “It is cool I guess, but again, we are not aimed to get one vote. We are not aimed to get votes. We are not aimed to be (ranked). We are building this program to eventually be an elite college hockey program. … It is nice that our guys are getting recognized.”

Croston and his teammates took some notice, though, saying it was a really good feeling to get a vote, but they want to accomplish more.

Coming off a road sweep against Alabama-Huntsville, which was the first since December 2016 against Massachusetts, ASU hasn’t lacked confidence as it returns to Oceanside Ice Arena for a series against Nebraska Omaha. 

Despite its many improvements on the ice, ASU understands they have a lot to work on. Powers said ASU is “far from perfect” on execution and discipline.

ASU doesn’t just play Nebraska Omaha (0-3-1) at home this weekend, but it also plays against the Mavericks in November on the road. The Sun Devils played the Mavericks twice last season as well, which resulted in a loss and a credited tie in a shootout.

Although the Mavericks are winless, Nebraska Omaha has played against No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 11 Union, which Powers said shows this series won’t be easy. He said Nebraska Omaha is “always good,” and its record doesn’t reflect the team.

Joey Daccord, a junior goaltender, made a name for himself last season with a SportsCenter Top-10 save against Nebraska Omaha as well.

Powers has continually mentioned Daccord will be the most important Sun Devil this season, and his play showcased that while the offensive and defensive prowess behind him from his teammates has helped.

Above all, ASU has confidence. 

“I think if we play our game, we will have a successful weekend,” Daccord said.

Reach the reporter at or follow @NATE_HIATT on Twitter.

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