All-Road Schedule Comes to a Close vs. Ohio State
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Sun Devil Hockey's unprecedented all-road Big Ten schedule comes to a close this week as they complete the 2020-21 season at Ohio State Thursday and Friday at 3:30 p.m. MST on Big Ten Network Plus. Without a home game this season, it becomes potentially the final series for several Sun Devil seniors, including Johnny Walker, Jacob Wilson, Dominic Garcia, Gvido Jansons, James Sanchez, Willie Knierim and Sean Dhooghe.
Despite traveling over 15,500 miles between planes and busses, being on the road for 58 of 70 days at one point, and 36-consecutive days to start the season, the Sun Devils avoided being the cause of a game or series cancellation over their 26-game schedule.
"My personal and number one goal was to get every game in that was on our schedule under our control. Obviously we can't control what happened with Penn State, but assuming we get these two games in, that is the story I think we can tell and be most proud of," said head coach Greg Powers. "Regardless of record or anything is that our guys had the diligence and the discipline, and everything it took to get this season in under these circumstances. It says a tremendous amount about the character we have in our program."
Sun Devil Rewind
Without any regular season home games this season, seven Sun Devil seniors could potentially be playing in their final games in the Maroon & Gold this week. Several may take advantage of the extra year of eligibility provided by the NCAA, while several could also sign and move on to professional hockey. One of those seniors is forward Johnny Walker, who last weekend became the program's all-time leading point scorer with his 108th career point (63g-45a). Other seniors include four-year Sun Devils in Dominic Garcia, Jacob Wilson and Gvido Jansons, while transfers James Sanchez, Willie Knierim and Sean Dhooghe all have spent one to two years at ASU. Garcia is one senior who has decided to not take on an extra year of eligibility as he pursues his goals of becoming an FBI agent. Between the pipes, freshman goaltender Cole Brady added his fifth and sixth game with 30 or more saves last weekend and seems to have found his groove since returning from mononucleosis. In the most recent game, Brady posted 41 saves on 42 shots faced in a 1-1 overtime tie against No. 7 Michigan.
Scouting the Buckeyes
As it stands entering the weekend, Ohio State currently sits tied for 5th in the Big Ten standings with the conference tournament just a week away. Despite the Buckeyes record, they have found a way to defeat all but one Big Ten team (Minnesota) going 1-3 against the other five. In mid-December, OSU and ASU skated to a 4-4 tie followed by a 3-2 Sun Devil win. Recently, the Buckeyes have just two wins over their last 13 games and have allowed 4.46 goals while averaging just over one-goal per game during that stretch. They have also been shutout three times and twice in their last three games. The Buckeyes will honor six seniors themselves this weekend, including Eugene Fadyeyev, Grant Gabriele, Evan Moyse, Tommy Nappier, Collin Peters and Austin Pooley.