(Photo: Gabrielle Mercer/WCSN)
For the first time all season, Arizona State will play multiple games in a weekend against two different teams.
Friday will snap the streak of nine straight games played against ranked teams when ASU faces the New Hampshire Wildcats.
However, the real challenge will come when the Sun Devils take on Boston College on Saturday night. The Eagles are ranked No. 3 in the country and have a lengthy history of success.
Sun Devils Outlook
ASU has been outscored 28-6 over its five-game losing streak, a lot of which can be attributed to a young, inexperienced team playing against some of the strongest programs in the country.
The offensive production has mainly gone through Dylan Hollman and Robbie Baillargeon. Hollman, the captain, is second on the team in points and leads the team with five assists. He has been a model of consistency, as head coach Greg Powers calls Hollman the “line doctor,” meaning that he can fix whatever line he is on.
Hollman has often been paired with Tyler Busch and David Norris on the line, but can also be seen in the same group as players such as Baillargeon and Wade Murphy.
He has been a huge asset to Baillargeon, who has taken his experience from Boston University and translated it to his play with the Sun Devils. He leads the team in goals (6) and points (7).
A big question for this weekend is which goalie will not get a start. Powers has consistently gone with a rotation of Joey Daccord, Robert Levin, and Ryland Pashovitz.
Daccord seems to most likely to get a start as he leads the team with five. He also has the best save percentage (.856) of those three.
Both Pashovitz and Levin have been inconsistent, so whether Powers opts to go with the younger option or the veteran remains to be seen.
The Wildcats will come in on Friday night sporting a 4-4-1 record, and are 0-2-0 against ranked teams, including a recent 5-3 loss to BC.
Dick Umile is in his 27th year coaching UNH and has won six Hockey East coach of the year awards. Outside of Michigan’s Red Berenson, he may be the most decorated coach that the Sun Devils face all season.
Freshman Patrick Grasso and senior Tyler Grasso lead the team in points with 13.
Compared to ASU, the Wildcats have stayed out of the penalty box, as they have only committed 52 to the Sun Devils’ 87. In fact, nobody on UNH has committed more than seven penalties all season, which will mean that ASU will need to limit the amount of Wildcats power plays.
Unlike the Sun Devils, UNH has played mainly one goaltender in net this season. Danny Tirone has started eight games and allowed 20 goals. The numbers he has put up are better than any of the three ASU net minders.
The Eagles have yet to lose in three home games and are 9-2-1 overall.
Over everything, the experience for the Sun Devils will be second-to-none, as the Eagles have made seven consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. They made the Frozen Four last season and were NCAA champions in 2012.
Five different Eagles have over 10 points this season, but they are led by senior Austin Cangelosi, who has eight goals and 13 points.
Arguably their most valuable player has been defenseman Casey Fitzgerald, who has a team-leading 12 blocks in addition to his 11 points.
ASU may have to attack the net in order to beat them because they don’t have the same experience in goal. Both Joe Woll and Ryan Edquist are freshmen.
Much like the Michigan game, it seems as if this matchup was scheduled more for the Sun Devils just to get experience playing against an elite team, but even keeping the game close would be considered an accomplishment.