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ASU hockey's team chemistry is key to overall success for the rest of season

With a mixture of veterans and newcomers, ASU hockey has had an undeniable chemistry six games into the season


The ASU ice hockey team celebrates after scoring a goal against University of Massachusetts Lowell at Oceanside Arena in Tempe, on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021.

For ASU hockey as the new season progresses, one thing has been undeniable: the team chemistry.

Last season, the Sun Devils played all their games on the road against Big Ten teams, losing the momentum that the team had created the season prior. However, this did not stop the Sun Devils from starting off the 2021-22 season with a 3-3 record, standing right at .500 going into their series against Colgate University.

"We have a really good hockey team and the best is yet to come," head coach Greg Powers said. "I think we're barely scratching the surface with how good we can be. Now, you know, we expect to win a lot of games this year. It's a lot of really good steps in the right direction."

Going into the team's series against the University of New Hampshire on Oct. 15 and 16, ASU was on a three-game losing streak after being swept by the University of Denver 8-3 and 4-3 the previous weekend and splitting the opening series against the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

After ASU swept New Hampshire, sophomore forward Matthew Kopperud attributed the team's overall success to the chemistry.

"I think we just talked as a group before the game, and we knew they were going to come out because they've watched film before so we switched a little bit and it ended up working," Kopperud said.

Kopperud currently leads the nation in goals (seven), points (12) and power play goals (six), and ranks 10th in the NCAA in goals per game with seven goals in six games, averaging 1.17 goals per game. 

Going into the rest of the season, the team's chemistry will be the key to its overall success. With freshman talent such as forward Josh Doan producing eight assists, one goal and nine total points this season, he leads the freshmen on the team.

"They're (Doan and sophomore defenseman Tim Lovell) two of the smartest guys I have ever played with," Kopperud said. "They're going to hit you, you don't have to call for it, they know where you are. Timmy can find you, and Doan's vision is just crazy; he can see the puck anywhere and he can still shoot it."

Powers echoed a similar sentiment to Kopperud, believing that the freshman duo of Doan and freshman defenseman Ty Murchison is good enough to be consistently on the ice. 

"They're really good already, and they're only going to continue to just get better and better, but they are two really good players and we feel comfortable with them in almost every situation," Powers said. "That's why they're out there as much as they've been right now. But those two ... they're already good, but they have an opportunity to be special, they really do."

Sophomore goaltender Cole Brady said that the team's chemistry helped him to have a season-high 40 saves and 20 blocked shots from the penalty kill against New Hampshire on Saturday. 

"Penalty kill is just a buy-in from the guys, and I am just down there as a last resort," Brady said. "They're the first line of defense and they did a great job getting in the way of the pucks and sacrificing their bodies this weekend." 

Going into its series against Colgate, ASU will look to keep up its team chemistry, with the team consistently producing power play goals and penalty kills. 

"So, they're a good team," Powers said of Colgate. "They're off to a good start; opportunity to go get, you know, a really good quality road win on Friday. We'll take tomorrow off, get back to work Monday and then look forward to getting out on the road together."

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