ASU Hockey: Sun Devils vs. Wolverines Preview

After being swept at home by the Harvard Crimson, 7-0 and 6-2, the Sun Devils host the No. 17 Michigan Wolverines for one quick game. This game, their sole game of this weekend is the last game of the season at Gila River Arena and the 9th of 9 consecutive games to start the season for ASU against ranked opponents.

The Arizona State Hockey team has hit a skid recently, dropping their last four games following the team’s first and only win of the season over Air Force.

During the team’s losing streak, Robbie Baillargeon has been the main source of offense for ASU. This season, Baillargeon has scored 6 goals, his last 5 were during the Sun Devils’ 4-game stretch of loses, the only goals scored during by Arizona State in that time. 

Michigan had previously been ranked 11th in the NCAA, but after a rough stretch last weekend, dropped to 17th in the rankings released this past Monday. They’re coming off of road losses to Vermont and Dartmouth by scores of 3-0 and 3-2 respectively. 

The Wolverines come in with a 3-3-1 record, as opposed to the 1-7-0 record of the Sun Devils. While Michigan has scored 18 goals this season, Arizona State has scored 17, but have allowed substantially more goals, 43 compared to 17 allowed by Michigan.

Arizona State special teams has struggled all season, as they’ve been successful on the power play only 10.2% of the time and been able to fend off the penalty kill 74.2% of the time. Michigan has been much stronger on and defending the power play, scoring on 22.6% of power play chances and stopping the penalty kill on 89.5% of chances.

For ASU, this doesn’t bode well, as Michigan has been able to take advantage of power plays and the Sun Devils have struggled on the penalty kill. 

While Arizona State had seen the likes of Robbie Baillargeon and Tyler Busch accounting for a majority of the team’s goals, with 6 and 4 respectively, Michigan has seen their offensive strength come from the trio of Will Lockwood, Sam Piazza and Jake Slaker, who each have 3 goals this year.

Piazza has only taken 7 shots in the team’s 7 games for a shooting percentage. In addition, the junior defenseman has 3 assists this season. Lockwood and Slaker are both freshman, so they look to not only make an impact tonight, but be a staple of the Wolverine hockey program for years to come.

Puck drop at Gila River Arena is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.