ASU hockey is looking forward to the rest of the season after a tough weekend at No. 3 Quinnipiac University featuring two losses in which ASU led by as many as three goals.
The two losses at Quinnipiac Friday and Saturday had scores of 5-3 and 5-2, respectively.
Despite the losses, there were bright spots in some individual performances. Assistant coach Mike Field was impressed with graduate student defenseman Jacob Wilson and had high praise for the two netminders.
"I think our goaltenders both played pretty well," Field said. "Especially on Saturday, I thought that (Ben) Kraws did a tremendous job when we didn't play as well in front of them, giving us a chance even late when we were really close to tying it up, or potentially taking the lead back."
Junior goaltender Kraws made 49 saves in the Sun Devils' loss to Quinnipiac on Saturday, which is a season-high performance. Kraws is looking to build momentum off of his performance over the weekend.
"I think going forward just every game, I try to give the team a chance to win," Kraws said. "So, that's kind of my mindset going forward."
Head coach Greg Powers had good things to say about Kraws's performance and progress. Powers said it comes down to his work ethic at practice.
"He's been awesome. He's our hardest worker in practice, and practice translates and are where you earn your teammates' respect and trust, and staff’s trust, and he's done that," Powers said. "Every chance he's gotten, he's really done a great job."
Sophomore goaltender Cole Brady also added a good performance in the first game, stopping 32 shots.
Sophomore forward Matthew Kopperud added another goal over the weekend to his season total of nine, which ranks eighth in the nation. He was impressed with how the offense played going into the next games.
"We go up 3-0 against Quinnipiac, and they ended up coming back and beating us so we know that we can score the goals, now we just got to make sure we keep the lead and keep fighting," Kopperud said. "Going into Bemidji (State), we know we have the talent to score all the goals. We just got to keep the right mindset on the other end of the puck and play well defensively."
The Sun Devils are heading into a lengthy six-game home stretch against three strong teams, No. 20 Bemidji State University, No. 12 Denver and Clarkson University. They are 5-1 at Oceanside so far this season and looking to use this stretch of games to improve their 6-6 record.
"It's a clean slate with an off week and ahead of our longest homestand that we've ever had," Powers said. "With three really big teams, really good hockey teams coming in back to back to back. So it's back to just the next opponent about mentality."
Wilson is also impressed with the younger players' progress thus far into the campaign, but is focused on the coming homestand and everyone on the team doing their jobs.
"Look at the production some of those guys have put up and even look at guys playing defensively," Wilson said. "Everyone's got to help play their role every single night. If you have one guy off and then that's no good. We need everybody ready to go and ready to play their role."
The Sun Devils will return to Oceanside Ice Arena to play Bemidji State Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. MST.
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Shane Brennan is the Editor-in-Chief at The State Press. He was a sports and politics reporter, before becoming the editor of the politics desk. He has covered local and state politics for the Arizona Capitol Times and Cronkite News.