After over a month off from competition, Arizona State women’s club hockey (5-8-1) is back in action at home this weekend against Assiniboine Community College for a three-game series.
“You can just tell everyone is excited to be back, especially since it’s game week,” ASU head coach Lindsey Ellis said.
The Devils’ last games were Dec. 8-9 when they swept Grand Canyon University in a two-game series and earned its first shutout victory in program history. Now, the team looks to shake off some rust and continue its momentum.
“It’s going to be a lot for our legs this weekend,” ASU sophomore goaltender Jordan Nash-Boulden said. “We will be fighting a little bit of that early on but I think we will get back into it pretty soon.”
Assiniboine Community College is a small school in Manitoba, Canada. Their women’s club hockey program plays in Division II of the American Collegiate Hockey Association.
ACC (8-5-0) is coming off an even longer break than ASU. The Cougars secured a 5-2 win over Minot State in their last game back on Dec 2.
The Cougars are coached by Terry Arksey, who has been heading the program since 2007. Arksey had a crucial role in helping ACC join the ACHA in 2015, according to Assiniboine.net.
However, this weekend’s series will not go towards either team’s record due to being in different divisions. The Sun Devils are simply focused on themselves more than anything else.
“We definitely have to play our game,” senior captain and forward Amber Galles said. “We know we are fast and strong. We just need to come out and show them what we got and that Arizona can play hockey.”
“We don’t know this team so just to be able to play good hockey is going to work out well for us in the end,” coach Ellis said.
Nash-Boulden has been the backbone for the Sun Devils this season. She is third in the ACHA with 575 saves and has a .936 save percentage and 2.60 goals against average in 14 games played, including one shutout.
“She hasn’t hit her peak yet which is so awesome for us,” Ellis said. “She is getting better and better every year, better every game. We are just excited for her to continue to keep growing.”
The sophomore will most likely be playing her 900th and 1,000th minute respectively this weekend. It would put her atop the ACHA in time played, which is a remarkable feat.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Nash-Boulden said about playing every minute this season. “I think I do better when I see a lot of shots and see that high volume and that workload. Even playing back-to-back games or three in a weekend, you get tired on the legs. But mentally, you stay really sharp. You don’t really lose that focus going into games because you know that you’re set and you’re starting and it sort of takes the nerves out of game days and lets you just go out there and compete.”
The Sun Devils offense this season has consistently come from their leaders. Senior captain KC McGinley leads the team in scoring with 15 points and has a team-high 10 assists. Galles is the ASU leading goal scorer with seven goals. She totals 12 points on the season so far.
“All of our captains are definitely who we look forward to at the beginning,” Ellis said about who will spark ASU. “They are always working hard and they are always putting their all on the ice.”
The three-game series between the Sun Devils and Cougars will be in Oceanside Arena this weekend. Puck drop is set for 10:10 p.m. MT on Friday, 2 p.m. on Saturday, and 9 a.m. on Sunday.