(Photo: Gabrielle Mercer/WCSN)
It hasn’t been the strongest start for Arizona State, but one player who has filled up the stat sheet day in and day out has been Tyler Busch.
One of the many freshmen on the team, his presence has been felt on the ice early and often during his short time in the desert. He is someone whom head coach Greg Powers said they can lean on to be a top-6 player on one of the first two lines, a tall task for most freshmen, but not Busch, who looks like one of the top scoring options on the team.
However, his recruitment to Tempe was far from routine. He had not even originally committed to play for the Sun Devils, but all of that changed after a phone call from Powers when Busch de-committed from Ohio State.
“Coach Powers reached out to me and got me down on a visit right away and I fell in love with it as soon as I came down here,” Busch said. “While I was on my visit I committed here. I thought it was a good fit to step right in and make an impact right away rather than sit out a year or two and learn.”
It was personnel changes that led to Busch deciding against staying with the Buckeyes, and Powers is happy that was the case, because he possesses a special skill that isn’t topped by another player on the team.
“I think he is our best 200-foot player,” Powers said. “I thought that from day one. That’s why I wanted him so bad. He was a huge commit for us. He is a leader, probably a future captain of this program. He is everything you want in a player.”
The captain comment is a high praise, but not out of the realm of possibility for Busch, who is serving as an apprentice of sorts to current captain Dylan Hollman.
The two were teammates with the Spruce Grove Saints and have remained friends ever since.
“When we played juniors we were really good friends,” Busch said. “We spent a lot of time together actually. When he found out I de-committed to Ohio State, he was on the phone a lot talking to me and he was a big part of me coming here. He spoke really great of the program.”
Call it fate or call it happenstance that Hollman got the assist on Busch’s first career goal, setting him up on a pass to the slot, which Busch said gave him a lot of room to get his shot off.
To complete his superb opening weekend, Busch tacked on goal number two in as many games, scoring a power play goal off of a pass from David Norris.
He continued to impress during the Sun Devils’ pair of games at home, scoring a goal in each of the two games. He now has one goal in each of the team’s first four games of the season.
“I’m just keeping it simple,” Busch said after he scored goal number three on the season last Friday. “I’m playing with some pretty good players and my coaches have a lot of confidence in me right off the bat, so that’s nice.”
It was easy for Powers to continue to heap praise on him.
“He’s only going to get better,” Powers said. “He’s really good and he’s off to a great start so I’m really happy with him.”
Busch’s hot start is far from the end of his dominance, as his impressive early play will only lead to a more prominent role with the team. He said the offense would come with time, as long as he establishes himself as a tough guy to play against on the ice.
For Busch, it looks like the offense has already come.