Evan DeBrouwer staking his claim as starting goalie for ASU

The sophomore is coming off his first ASU career shutout and career-high 38 saves in successive games

Sophomore goaltender Evan DeBrouwer earned his first collegiate career shutout against Air Force last Friday. The next day, he set a career high in saves, stopping the puck 38 times.

But neither of those milestones top the list of the sophomore’s favorite sports moment. 

That’s reserved for when the Ontario, Canada native helped Ridley College H.S. win its first hockey championship in school history. 

“It was pretty cool to see how it affected so many people,” DeBrouwer said. “A lot of people came back and wanted to talk to us and thank us for accomplishing what the school had been trying to accomplish for so long.”

DeBrouwer honors his heritage. On the back of his mask are flags for both DeBrouwer’s home in Canada — and the Netherlands, where his grandparents immigrated from. 

And thanks to them, DeBrouwer grew up in the perfect environment to play hockey. 

“I loved hockey right from the start,” he said. “And to be honest, as a kid, I always thought goalies looked really cool. I really wanted to try it, and thankfully my parents were okay with it, and I loved it.”

DeBrouwer’s hockey journey has taken him all the way to Tempe, and he’s loved his time with the ASU hockey team.

“This is one of the tightest-knit groups I’ve ever played for,” he said. “It started last year. I thought we were a really close group, and we’ve still got a lot of the same core guys. The new guys that have shown up have been really great as well.”

DeBrouwer has certainly gotten his chance to get in front of the net this season. He’s started in all but one of ASU’s regular season games so far. In those games, his highest save percentage sits at .908 and he holds a goals-against-average of 2.74.

Numbers aside, head coach Greg Powers has liked what he has seen, especially in the 5-2 victory over Air Force last weekend, when DeBrouwer recorded his aforementioned career-high 38 saves.

“On Saturday, he was tremendous," Powers said. "He was dynamite. (Air Force) really turned it on and generated a lot (of shots), and he held them at bay.” 

DeBrouwer’s performance in ASU’s sweep of Air Force was a long-awaited moment for the sophomore, who has been working tirelessly to improve and earn playing time since his freshman year.

During the 2018-19 season, he received virtually no playing time, as former Sun Devil Joey Daccord was the starting goalie. The only ice time DeBrouwer got all season was in the waning minutes of a blowout loss to Cornell. 

But he never let that discourage him.

“Last year, I just tried to stay positive and work really hard,” he said. “I think that’s really paid off this year, and it’s certainly going well so far.”

Powers has believed in DeBrouwer from the start of his freshman year and thinks he has a lot of potential. 

“I’ve said since day one that we’re gonna win with whoever we put in (the) net, and right now, Evan gives us the best chance,” Powers said. “Evan was outplaying Joey (Daccord) in practice a lot last year. We know how good he can be.”

Former NHL goalie and current ASU volunteer coach Eddie Läck is carefully watching over DeBrouwer’s progression.

“There is some rust to shake off, and some stuff to talk about every week,” Läck said. “But in every single game we’ve played, he’s been getting better and better. That’s what I want to see from him.”

Playing goalie takes a lot of work, and not just on the ice. DeBrouwer is always learning and improving, whether it be through studying film or working extra hours in the gym.

“He wants to learn all the time,” Läck said. “That’s what got him here, and that’s why he’s looking so good this year. He always wants to learn extra stuff. From a coaching perspective, that’s what you want to see. Someone always trying to get better.”

Läck has had a big impact on DeBrouwer. He values the mentorship Läck provides, not just as a goalie but as a person. 

“He’s a wealth of knowledge, and he’s such a good guy, easy to get along with, easy to talk to,” DeBrouwer said. “He’s just been in every experience that you can imagine. Picking his brain and asking for advice is really easy with him.”

For all the work he does off the ice, DeBrouwer knows the only place to truly show his improvement is on the ice. His main goal is more starts.

“I’m still very inexperienced out there,” he said. “But I’m feeling more and more comfortable every game. I’m just trying to soak everything up like a sponge right now. There’s a lot more to learn, and it comes down to playing in as many games as I can.”

Is there anything else he wants to do?

“I think scoring a goal would be pretty cool,” he joked.

Correction: Due to an editor error, this story originally had an incorrect goals-against average for DeBrouwer. It has been updated to reflect the change. 

Reach the reporter at cvanligt@asu.edu and follow @Connor_VL on Twitter. 

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