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ASU hockey boosted by strong freshman class

Charlie Schoen, Ryan Alexander and Teddy Lagerback all netted their first collegiate goal this past weekend

221014 Hockey vs Colgate(RVA)-76.jpg
ASU men's hockey freshman forward Ryan Alexander (53) skating through middle ice with the puck at Mullet Arena on Friday, Oct. 14, 2022. ASU beat Colgate 2-0.

In a season filled with so much new for Sun Devil hockey, a roster filled with eight freshmen has caught the eyes of many in Tempe. 

This past weekend against Colorado College, three different freshmen found the back of the net for the first time at the collegiate level. Forwards Ryan Alexander on Friday, then Teddy Lagerback and Charlie Schoen on Saturday all got their first in a Sun Devil uniform. 

"I think once you get in you have to take your opportunity and play the best you can," Lagerback said. "I think that's what all of us freshmen have done so far. When we get a chance, we’ve all come in and just played our best, so that's what we’re gonna continue to do once we get in and just try and help the team win."

All three of those players stood out during ASU's two series homestand vs Colgate and CC, especially Alexander and Schoen, who have stood out in many areas other than goal-scoring. Greg Powers called the two of them "workhorses."

"They're hard on pucks, getting in on the forecheck, everything just compliments each other really well," coach Greg Powers said following Saturday's 6-1 win. 

Alexander grew up in Toronto, playing two seasons in the USHL for three different teams.  He began the season working more with the fourth line, but was moved to the second-line center position for the series against Colorado College.

Lagerback's junior hockey career began back in 2017 playing for the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL. There he scored seven goals and four assists in 50 games over three seasons. He then moved on to the BCHL where he tallied 25 goals and 24 assists in 54 games for the Trail Smoke Eaters. 

Schoen played last season with the Sioux City Musketeers in the USHL, winning the championship and posting 26 goals and 30 assists in the regular season. He has worked in a few different roles with the Sun Devils but has primarily played with the third line. 

"I feel like we're starting to really buy into the system and really trust where each other are gonna be on the ice," Schoen said. "I think these first few weekends were a little bit of a rough patch, just had to work out some kinks, but now I feel like now we're rolling and I’m excited for the future."

Tuesday, Schoen expressed just how much he’s enjoyed his time here in Arizona so far playing in front of a packed student section every night. 

"It's been awesome," Schoen said. "I have a smile on my face just thinking about it. Having a sold-out student section every night and almost a sold-out arena, you can't really ask for much more especially in college hockey, so it’s been an awesome experience so far."

Those who have been here know this team is different from those in the past. A veteran who's seen the growth is junior defenseman Tim Lovell, who had loads of praise for the new guys filling out the depth of the Sun Devil roster. 

"Realistically, it is the best team I've played on with all the talent we have," Lovell said. 

The Sun Devils' next game will be a big one on a massive stage, and Powers described how big the stage will be for getting new eyes on the program. 

"The exposure in front of that many people on a national stage is awesome," Powers said. "It's what we’ve been working towards and we’re grateful for the opportunity that they’ve invited us to play in it, and we wanna go make the most out of it." 

The Sun Devils now will head to Las Vegas, where they will face one of their toughest games of the season against the No. 6 North Dakota Fighting Hawks at T-Mobile Arena, puck drop set for 7:07 p.m. 

Edited by Kathryn Field, David Rodish and Kristen Apolline Castillo.

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