Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.

ASU hockey's recent skid presents tough stretch to make NCAA tournament

After facing some adversity, ASU has 10 games to prove that they are worthy of the NCAA tournament with five series remaining


ASU junior defenseman Ty Murchison (5) dribbling the puck on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023 at Mullett Arena in Tempe. ASU lost 8-4.

In what’s been a historic season on the ice at ASU’s Mullett Arena, Sun Devil hockey still has a battle ahead of them if they wish to continue past the regular season into the NCAA tournament. 

Its current record of 17-6-5 showcases impressive wins over teams such as now No. 4 Denver and No. 10 Providence, but that only tells half the story. In the last two weekends in Tempe, ASU was swept for the first time by No. 13 Cornell and then split a series with Augustana. 

ASU is 17th in the pairwise rankings, which determines whether they qualify for a tournament spot. However, with a plethora of unranked teams on the schedule, ASU must find its stride once again if it wishes to return to the dance as it did in 2019. Despite the recent struggles, the team still feels they are in the position they need to be. 

“We're fine," sophomore forward Charlie Schoen said. "It's part of the game. It's just some adversity. We’re not going to let it get us down; we're just going to try and get better and keep moving forward.”

The sweep at the hands of Cornell two weekends ago only moved them from No. 16 to No. 17 in the PairWise rankings, which seems like compensation for how difficult it has been for the Sun Devils to move up in the rankings despite countless sweeps and impressive wins.

"The weekend dropped us one spot in the PairWise, so we're finally getting rewarded when we lose," head coach Greg Powers said after the Cornell series. "Unfortunately … it doesn’t seem to reward us when we win. Now we just got to go win. We take care of business; we still believe we are an NCAA tournament team."

No. 17 sounds like a good place for ASU, but as one of the few independent teams in the NCAA, they will find themselves without a conference tournament at the end of the season, a tournament that heavily decides who makes the NCAAs.

What bodes well for the Sun Devils is that they have already proven their ability to win tournaments this season, taking home two trophies. In the final weekend of 2023, ASU won the inaugural Adirondack Winter Invitational with a win over Clarkson and a shootout win over Cornell. ASU followed that performance up in 2024 with a win in the Desert Hockey Classic at Mullett Arena, which included wins over Harvard and Nebraska Omaha.

A series split with Augustana last weekend didn't help ASU, but it didn’t move them down in the PairWise. Saturday's critical win ended the three-game losing streak and hopefully got them back on track.

"We're still in the fight; we're right in the middle of it,” Powers said. “Now we just have to parlay this into the next 10 games."

With only five series remaining, ASU has good and bad news. The good news is that only one of the teams they play to close out the season has a record over .500, Alaska Fairbanks, whom ASU will see for two series in a row. The bad news is that the margin for error becomes incredibly small with so many weak teams on the schedule.

ASU can only afford to lose one or two more games for the rest of the season if it wants to make the tournament, or else it could be out of its hands. Their next series begins on Feb. 2 against Lindenwood, who holds a 3-14-3 record, a must-sweep for ASU. 

"We know our season’s on the line, and we want to make the tournament; that's our goal, and we can't take any game lightly; it doesn't matter who it is," Schoen said. 

Edited by Alfred Smith III, Walker Smith and Caera Learmonth.

Reach the reporter at and follow @Justincarter880 on X.

Like The State Press on Facebook and follow @statepress on X.

Continue supporting student journalism and donate to The State Press today.

Subscribe to Pressing Matters



This website uses cookies to make your experience better and easier. By using this website you consent to our use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie Policy.