ASU hockey earns bid to 16-team NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history

The Sun Devils face off against Quinnipiac in the first round of the NCAA Tournament

The ASU men’s hockey team made program history on Sunday, as it became the first Sun Devil lead squad to earn a spot in the 16-team NCAA Tournament. 

ASU (21-12-1) is the first school unaffiliated with a conference to make the Tournament since 1992, when the University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolves earned a spot as an independent.

The Sun Devils earned a No. 3 seed in the upcoming tournament, and will face off against the No. 2 seed Quinnipiac Bobcats (25-9-2) in the first round on Saturday. The Bobcats finished the regular season ranked seventh in the country. 

Their matchup will take place in Allentown, Pennsylvania – joining Fargo, North Dakota; Manchester, New Hampshire; and Providence, Rhode Island – as the four regional locations for round one of the NCAA Tournament. 

ASU is led by sophomore forward Johnny Walker, who finished the regular season first nationally with an average of .74 goals per game. 

Defensively, the Sun Devils are captained by junior goalie Joey Daccord, who was recently named a semifinalist for the Mike Richter Award, given annually to the most outstanding goalie in college hockey.

The winner of ASU’s matchup with Quinnipiac will take on the winner between the No. 4 seed Bowling Green Falcons (25-10-5) and No. 1 seed Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs (25-11-2). Minnesota Duluth finished the season ranked fourth in the country and were the winners of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC). 

After ending its regular season 22 days ago, ASU hockey was validated with earning a bid to the upcoming NCAA Tournament. Its national championship pursuit begins Saturday, as the team looks to blaze a new trail for Sun Devil hockey.  

The Sun Devils take on Quinnipiac on March 30 at 4:30 p.m. MST.

Reach the reporter at or follow @jacobrosenfarb on Twitter. 

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