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ASU hockey's offense off to hot start, led by forward Matthew Kopperud

The Sun Devil hockey offense is going to be crucial to the team's overall success going into the rest of the season

191102 hockey offense

Then-junior forward Johnny Walker (7) shoots the puck on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019, at Oceanside Ice Arena in Tempe, Arizona.

ASU hockey's sophomore forward Matthew Kopperud's hot start to the season is leading the team's explosive offense and is key to the overall success of the offense going into the middle of the season.

Kopperud is tied for first in the nation in goals and leads in points, with seven and 15, respectively. Kopperud currently leads the Sun Devils, and the nation, in power play goals with six. He is continuing his scoring trend from last season, when he led the team in goals and points with 19 points and 13 goals as a freshman.

"Everybody on the ice can score a goal at any given time, so when other teams want to kill things, they can take one guy away, and we have another guy that's open that can score a goal," Kopperud said.

Kopperud's power play contributions have led to the Sun Devils having one of the most potent power play units in college hockey, with 40.5% of power plays ending with a goal for the team. That percentage is second in the nation, behind St. Cloud State University.

Graduate student forwards Jack Becker and Colin Theisen and freshman forward Josh Doan are other players who are part of the successful and explosive power play unit, according to Kopperud.

Doan and Becker have three power play goals each. Additionally, Doan led DI hockey in assists heading into the team's games against Colgate University Saturday and Sunday.

"They're contributing a lot to the team. But they're also working hard, too," graduate student defenseman Jacob Wilson said. "So, they're never content and they're always pushing themselves and wanting to get more and more and more. They're getting better every day and that's pretty cool to see."

While Kopperud's start has been impressive, he is remaining focused on keeping up the pace as the season continues.

"I mean, it's in the back of my mind, but I try not to think about it too much," Kopperud said. "I just try to focus on the game and if it ends up going in it's always good but I don't think about it too much."

Coming into this season, Kopperud had changed his off-season training strategy to improve his one-timer shooting.

"I've definitely worked on my one two as you can see from right there last year, I always used to catch it and shoot it this year. I'm just trying to get it off my stick as quick as possible and it's ended up working out so far," Kopperud said.

Although Kopperud is only a sophomore, his younger teammates like Doan already look up to him. Kopperud said he sees the freshmen on the team as the future of the program and is impressed with their performance so far in the season. He said "all of them produce in every different way possible."

"It's just playing with good people and you get an opportunity to produce and that's what I've been given here," Doan said. "The opportunity to be playing with Kopperud and Theisen, Johnny (Walker) and all those guys in our lineup, it's something that they've given me, an opportunity to succeed, and kind of just roll it out as long as I can and hopefully continue to produce."

The ASU hockey team will host the University of St. Thomas (Minnesota) on Friday, Oct. 29 at 7:05 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 30 at 7:05 p.m. at Oceanside Ice Arena in Tempe.

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Shane BrennanPolitics Reporter

Shane Brennan is a politics reporter at State Press. He also works for Cronkite News and Blaze Radio.

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