(Photo: Allyson Cummings-WCSN)
Freshman forward Stephen Collins has moved back to New York for personal reasons this school year. With the loss of such a strong offensive player, fans are now wondering who will fill his skates.
Last season Collins led the team with nine power play goals and was second behind Kale Dolinski with 27 goals. Collins had some memorable moments during his freshman campaign like scoring the game-winning shoot out goal against Oakland in early November and netting a hat trick against Central Michigan.
“Every year we lose guys and we bring in guys. This year we are losing some big players for us but we are also bringing in some big players. Our focus isn’t necessarily on replacing guys individually, but rather bringing in guys to make us a better team altogether,” assistant captain Danny McAuliffe said.
With 14 new recruits, head coach Greg Powers has certainly brought in more talent to add to Arizona State’s already deep roster. They are all ready to help this team win its first National Championship, but as impressive as the new group may be, it is still uncertain who will replace Collins’ role as a top six forward. Oftentimes, the returning players are expected to take more leadership when a player as talented as Collins leaves a program.
One player that should surely step up is junior forward Faiz Khan. Khan ended the 2012-2013 season with 27 points and three power play goals. He was out for part of the season due to injury so he only played in 35 games in his first year in Tempe, however, he is sure to dominate on the ice this year.
Khan also has what I like to call the ‘clutch-factor,’ scoring the goal to put ASU in the lead against the University of Arizona on November 3, in one of the most memorable victories of last season. The Newhall, California native also had two goals and two assists in the series at division I Penn State.
Another strong player to step up is forward Kale Dolinski, who has proven to be incredibly consistent on the ice with both his effort and talent. Dolinski finished strong with 34 goals and 25 assists, leading the team in points. He was also second in power play goals with eight, right below Collins.
“We are coming back with a vengeance and an eye on that national trophy, and I think the 14 new recruits coming in are going to help us seal that fate,” McAuliffe stated.
You can reach Allyson Cummings on Twitter @AllysonRC94 or by email Allyson.Cummings@asu.edu.