Coming off of an NCAA tournament berth for the first time in ASU history, Sun Devil hockey is off to a slow 3-3 start. Consistency with the goaltender position needs to be the key to success moving forward. The team has big shoes to fill after stellar goaltender Joey Daccord left for the NHL's Ottawa Senators.
The inconsistencies at goaltender came at the start of the year when the team rotated sophomore Evan DeBrouwer and graduate transfer Max Prawdzik, leading to a split in the season-opening series against a much weaker Mercyhurst University squad.
While only having a win-loss record of 2-3, DeBrouwer will be the key to ASU’s success on the ice going forward. He is definitely the hottest hand.
After a slow start to the season, DeBrouwer has gotten his goals-against average down to 2.74 and his save percentage to .908. These numbers aren’t staggering, but it is a trend which is a sign of good things to come for the sophomore.
Perhaps the best reason of all to stick to DeBrouwer is the fact that he is just a sophomore. In case this season ends up being a letdown for ASU by not making the tournament, the experience DeBrouwer will gain from this season will set the Sun Devils up beautifully for his junior and senior seasons.
“He played well at (Minnesota State) and we left him out to dry in those last two third periods," Powers said. "We wanted to go back with him because he deserved to get a win and he was great. He was steady, calm and let our guys play their game in front of him confidently.”
The most important aspect of Powers’ words were DeBrouwer’s ability to let his teammates, specifically defensemen, play in front of him with confidence. A more confident defense allows them to take more risks and gives them the ability to cover the ice without worry.
Prawdzik, as a veteran, will be a nice security blanket for ASU off the bench in case of a DeBrouwer injury. The transfer from Boston University just hasn’t shown the ability to be a consistent option as a long-term starter.
DeBrouwer has the statistics, youth and confidence of his team to earn the starting job. From here on out, DeBrouwer will be the one to lead the Sun Devils to success in goal.
Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.
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