After much anticipation, Arizona State men’s hockey has announced its home and away opponents for the 2016-2017 season.
Last season, the program’s first in Division-I NCAA, ASU played a hybrid schedule between NCAA and ACHA opponents. Now, the Sun Devils will play a full slate of Division-I teams.
In 2015, Arizona State only played two home games. Now, they have nine opponents coming to Oceanside Ice Arena or Gila River Arena.
The athletic department at ASU wasted no time in scheduling top-tier opponents as the Sun Devils will play eight of the sixteen teams that participated in the 2016 NCAA Tournament.
Matchups with St. Cloud State, Michigan and Harvard headline the home stand. ASU’s additional home games include Connecticut, Rensselaer Poly and Air Force.
Not only do these teams elevate the level of competition that Sun Devil hockey will play, but also creates an opportunity to further the general interest of hockey in the Valley.
On the road, the schedule is highlighted by games against three teams from the 2016 Frozen Four: Boston College, Denver and Quinnipiac. Other notable games include trips to Notre Dame and Northeastern.
Following a shaky first season in Division-I, the program is making moves to improve. Beyond a taxing schedule, eight recruits will be joining the Sun Devils next season.
New talent will give Head Coach Greg Powers the opportunity to try new lines and give his team the best chance to win games.
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With a young team, playing against high-level competition is an excellent way to improve. After mustering five wins in 2015, this will help the team to continue its growth under Powers.
Additionally, ASU hired a new goaltending coach in George Bosak as well as former NHL defenseman Garnet Exelby as the strength and conditioning coach. Both coaches bring new energy and their extensive knowledge of the game to this team.
Scheduling numerous difficult opponents is yet another progressive step being taken by ASU as they continue to grow as a Division-I hockey program.