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Hockey Embarks on the Last Ride at Oceanside

Sep 30, 2021

TEMPE, Ariz. — After spending all of last season on the road, Sun Devil Hockey returns home for the final season at Oceanside Ice Arena where they will open the 2021-22 season against UMass Lowell. 

Puck drop is slated for 7:05 p.m. MST on Saturday and 4:05 p.m. MST on Sunday. Both games will be broadcast on the ASU Live Stream. 

"(UMass Lowell) will come in prepared and they're going to be hard to play against," head coach Greg Powers said. "They're going to be incredibly well-structured like they always are. Like I told the guys, this isn't any sort of cupcake opening weekend, this is a really good, successful program that is going to give us everything we have to handle at our very best." 

Scouting the Sun Devils
Last season, Arizona State traveled over 15,500 miles and were on the road for 74 days of the 113-day season as they competed in the Big Ten. They earned notable wins over ranked opponents Wisconsin, Notre Dame and Ohio State. 

Returning to the Sun Devils after an impressive freshman season is Matthew Kopperud who led the team with 19 points. During his freshman campaign, Kopperud paced the team with 13 goals and finished tied for second in goals scored by NCAA freshmen.

Fans can watch fifth-year players Johnny Walker (C), Jacob Wilson (C ), Sean Dhooghe, and Willie Knierim (A) one more time in-person this season. The group chose to use their extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite being injured for a portion of last season, Walker held the third-most points on the squad (4G, 10A). 

The Sun Devil roster welcomes three new grad transfers. Making the move from Notre Dame is forward Colin Thiesen. He joins the Maroon and Gold after playing 27 games for the Irish last season, where he scored eight goals and six assists. His eight goals were tied for second on the team. Michigan's former team captain Jack Becker will now suit up for the Sun Devils. Last season, the forward registered four goals and five assists through 23 games. Defenseman Tim Theocharidis comes to Arizona State from Bowling Green. Theocharidis totaled 15 points with five goals and 10 assists in 31 games. 

Starting between the pipes for the Sun Devils is junior transfer Ben Kraws, who spent two seasons at Miami Ohio. During his sophomore season, Kraws appeared in eight games where he had a .875 save percentage. Before joining Miami Ohio, he spent two seasons in the USHL, playing for the Sioux City Musketeers. 

In preseason, head coach Greg Powers announced the captains group led by Johnny Walker and Jacob Wilson for the second consecutive season. Senior Jordan Sandhu and graduate student Willie Knierim will both wear the 'A' for the Sun Devils. 

Familiar Foes 

This will be the fifth meeting between the two teams, with the River Hawks currently leading the series 3-1. The first time the Sun Devils and River Hawks met was during the 2015-16 season. Graduate forward Johnny Walker netted two goals in ASU's lone victory over UMass Lowell when they faced each other in 2018. 

Head coach Norm Bazin steps into his 11th season at the helm of the River Hawks after a 10-9-1 record last season. Junior forward Andre Lee led UMass Lowell in points during the 2020-21 season, notching seven goals and nine assists. Between the pipes are goaltenders Henry Welsch and Owen Savory. Welsch started 11 of 12 games and earned a .899 save percentage during his freshman season. Savory returns for his senior season after starting seven of eight games last year and boasting a .846 save percentage.