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Hockey Intends to Landlock the Seawolves

Nov 9, 2022

TEMPE – The Arizona State Men's Hockey team (5-4-0) returns to Mullett Arena for the first time in three weeks to faceoff against Alaska Anchorage (2-6-0) on Friday and Saturday, November 11-12. Puck drop for Friday's matchup is scheduled for 7 p.m. MST, while Saturday's game is scheduled earlier at 5 p.m. MST. Both games are free to watch on the ASU Live Stream and listen on the home of Sun Devil Hockey, FOX Sports 910 (KGME).

This weekend, Sun Devil Hockey participates in ASU's campus-wide Salute to Service Week which honors those who have served our country. As part of ASU's recognition of individuals who volunteer to serve in our country's military or in the communities they live in, ASU will wear its military uniforms created in partnership with adidas and pay tribute to the late ASU great, Pat Tillman. 

Anchorage embarks on its reinstatement season this year after suffering a program cut during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Seawolves are scheduled to play a mix of NCAA Division I and ACHA teams in 2022-23. UAA last competed in a full season in 2019-20. 

UAA's two wins this season are tallied against top-tier Division I programs, Western Michigan (3-1) and Northern Michigan (3-1). 

Unlike the Sun Devils who enjoy intense home ice advantage for 24 home games at Mullett Arena, the Seawolves are trekking across the country on long road trips. ASU is one stop for UAA on a three-week road trip that started on Oct. 21 at Northern Michigan and ends on Nov. 16 at UNLV (ACHA). 

The Seawolves are led by top goal-scorer Connor Marritt (4G, 1A). He scored two goals in the series against his former team, Northern Michigan, and additionally WMU and Colorado College. Derek Hamelin paces the team in total points with eight through eight games. Former Sun Devil defenseman Carson Kosobud skated in eight games for the Seawolves so far this season and tallied one assist. Kosobud played in 10 games for ASU in 2020-21. 

The last time the Sun Devils took the ice was two weeks ago in a 3-2 victory over then-No. 6/7 North Dakota at the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game in Las Vegas, which was ASU's ninth win over a top-10 opponent in program history. 

The Sun Devils proved to the Fighting Hawks kryptonite in Sin City as three different ASU skaters scored against UND. Sophomore forward Matthew Kopperud capitalized on the first power play opportunity with a goal in the first period after being down two. Kopperud is the second-highest goal scorer for the Sun Devils bringing in three goals in the season thus far. Lukas Sillinger and Robert Mastrosimone also scored against the Fighting Hawks. 

After a month into the season sophomore goaltender TJ Semptimphelter ranks third in the NCAA with 291 saves and ranks in the top-15 in the country with a save percentage of .930. He started all nine games in net for the Sun Devils and recorded two shutouts this season. 

Leading the scorers chart for the Sun Devils is senior forward Robert Mastrosimone who successfully scored the game-winning goal against UND. The Long Island native is on a three-game goal-scoring streak dating back to Oct. 21 vs. Colorado College. 

Demetrios Koumontzis is tied with Kopperud for goals scored with three. Fifteen ASU skaters have scored at least one goal so far this season. Freshman forward Ryan Alexander leads all ASU rookie scoring with one goal and two assists through seven games. 

(2-1-0, 3 games)
W, 5-2 - February 15, 2020
W, 5-0 - February 14, 2020
L, 2-3 - October 9, 2015


On the vibe and overall feeling of the team:
"The guys feel really good. Obviously after a really good, defining win your confidence is going to be high. I think that the bye week came at a perfect time. We have some guys pretty nicked up, they've played nine games and went through a gauntlet there. But most importantly, to come down from that emotional high and give them a week to process everything and get back after it is really good."

On Mastrosimone, his attitude, and performance in practice:
"He's been everything we thought he would be and more. He is a leader, he's in his first year and we have an unbelievable captain group, but he's looked at and respected on our team as a captain because he just handles himself really well in every situation and his play has been incredible. He's just our kind of player. He is relentless on pucks and he just goes. He's got a motor and I think that he is just going to keep getting better and better."

On what gets the power play going:
"Just shot volume and making it more simple. You've got an extra stick on the ice so you've got to get pucks and bodies in the net. We went through a stretch there, three games, where we really struggled and now it's going. We have the talent on both units to be successful and they're confident and that's how power plays go. We feel really good about the power play right now and we're hoping to see a lot of it this weekend"

On defensive highs against North Dakota and highlighting that in practice:
"It was puck management and how we managed the puck and how we kept the puck away from them. Our defense was getting back for the pucks really well. They were first on pretty much every puck that they got in behind us and all five guys were on the same page, no matter who was on the ice. We were exiting our zone pretty cleanly and not letting them establish their forecheck and getting in on offense. That's generally what it takes when you hold a team to 15 shots and the first 18 minutes of the third period had no shots. It was really all just supporting the puck, coming out of our zone, and getting to the puck first."

On staying mentally strong with tough games coming up:
"As an independent, every game is a playoff game. We don't get a conference playoff, so we aren't even thinking about Clarkson, or even close to Minnesota. Everything is focused on Anchorage. We have to make wins as an independent to get into the tournament and literally all we are focused on is Friday night against this team. We're not going to take them lightly. They already have two really big wins. They beat Western Michigan, they beat Northern Michigan on the road. They've given some teams really close games and caused fits because they work. They are well structured and they work. They have a chip on their shoulder. So we are only focused on this team."

On giving up power play goals and penalty kills:
"I think that the goals we have given up really are not the PK. I've actually been really pleased with the PK the last four games. The goal at North Dakota was just a bad bounce. It bounced up over TJ and it wasn't structured. The only thing that our PK could get better at is the 200-foot clears. When you get it on your stick, you've got to get it 200 feet, every time. But the structures there, they're selling out, they're blocking shots. It's been a lot better the last four or five games and that percentage is going to continue to climb."

On Neidermayer and his play in the defensive end:
"He's been great. He's going to be really good back there for us. He gave us the life that we were looking for and some confidence in another kid that can skate really well and move it out with his feet. He obviously got hurt against North Dakota and will be out this weekend, but it's nothing too serious and we expect him back for Clarkson."

On Ryan Alexander and his play being at the next level:
"He just plays hard, he hunts pucks, he creates space, he plays with pace. He's just a good, hard-nosed center. There's not a guy on our team that doesn't want to play with him. I could put him with Doan and Mastrosimone, I could put him with anybody and they'd be like "alright, lets go." As a freshman, to have that backing and confidence of your coaches and teammates, it says a lot about the kind of player he is. And he's only going to get better, he is a hell of a player."

On how TJ has taken on the full time starter role:
"I think in college hockey, when you have a horse, you have to ride him. We play less than 40 games. When guys want to go pro, where they play over 80 games, if you can't handle 40 then that's a problem. Player's play all games, why can't the goalies? It's no different. Goalies work hard, and it is a tiring position. If I expect Josh Doan to play every game, I can expect a goalie to play every game. They're no different. You have to treat goalies like they are hockey players, cause they are. TJ's approach to every day and taking care of his body and staying sharp mentally is really impressive and he can handle it. The other two guys look really good too, so we know that when they get their chance and they're called on, they'll be ready to go and help us win games."

On Carson Kosobud coming to play this weekend:
"Great kid, great family. Still very close with his family, his dad is a good friend of ours. He just wasn't getting in. He wanted to go somewhere where he could play and make an impact. He's a dynamic kid back there, he plays hard, he's physical, he can skate, he can make plays. I know he's going to come in with a big chip. We're excited to see him play and excited for him to play in this building. But he's an awesome kid, it's going to be good to see him."

On vibe in locker room post North Dakota win:
"The vibes are pretty good in the locker room. Obviously everyone's pretty happy with that win, but we are trying our best not to think about that and just think about Alaska Anchorage and really focus on ourselves and the game this weekend. As nice as it is to win that game, it's in the past, it's behind us now."

On adjusting to being a Sun Devil:
"We're clicking real well right now. Everything is moving better, we're getting used to the system and everyones getting used to playing with each other. I love being a Sun Devil, this is probably my favorite year of college so far and the guys in the locker room are awesome and the whole team's amazing."

On first nine games as a Sun Devil:
"At BU I just couldn't punch through and get to that next level where I wanted to be. I think since I've been in Arizona I've loved it. I needed a fresh start, I needed to get in front of some new faces and sometimes when you do that you start to feel a little bit better and you start to feel confident. I feel like I am playing with a lot of confidence in the first nine games and I've been trusting my shot and my linemates a lot."

On the first line starting to gel:
"Like anything you do that's new, you got that little adjustment period. First few games we didn't do much, we're getting in the groove of playing with each other. You can play so much in practice, but nothing emulates a game like a real game. Just really getting reps on the ice and getting a ton of shifts together really helped us click. We're all so close and we all love talking hockey. We talk about our shifts and how we played in the last game, which is something that is really big for us."

On him and Grando both being from Long Island:
"We talk about it a lot. It's nice having a guy from your hometown on the team with you. It doesn't really happen a lot , especially being from Long Island, there's not a lot of D1 hockey players around. Just having someone who you can relate to, talk about with stuff you miss from home. The food, the pizza, the bagels, whatever it may be. So it's really nice having a guy like that. I knew him a little bit, we were never really friends or talked. He's two years older than me so we missed each other on a lot of things, so we never really got close. We have a lot of mutual friends who we didn't connect too much through. But since I've got here, we've been really close and we've become really good friends."

On Anchorage:
"We've seen a few teams take them lightly and we've seen a team beat them 9-0 then come in and lose to them the next night. We're not taking them lightly, even though they just got their program back, we know they are a good team and that they've beaten some good teams. We're more focused on ourselves and what we can do better even though we played really well in the North Dakota game, there's still a lot of things we can clean up, a lot of mistakes that could have led to goals that fortunately didn't. We're really focused on cleaning that stuff up."

On what they are working on cleaning up:
"We are really working on our d-zone and really covering the d-zone and not giving them opportunities in the slot. There's a few times they got the puck in front of the net alone and we're really trying to work on that front and really getting pucks out of the zone."

On what is going well on the man advantage:
"Our powerplay has been really good lately. We've been doing a lot of video with just your own group, not even the coaches. Kind of watching and talking as a group. We have a lot of freedom there and that has really helped us a lot in these last few games is having that freedom to be hockey players and not robots and not be here and have to do this. Just to take the open play, we've got a man advantage, we're all good hockey players. Coach Hicks has been really good at just letting us do our thing."

On Tim being the quarterback of the unit:
"Tim's awesome up there. We can always rely on him making some crazy play when you think it's not there, he pulls it off. It's nice having him back there. We have two great flank guys, Kopp and Silly, they're both really good there. They both scored goals versus North Dakota there, so that was huge for us. And having Doaner in front of the net, getting that big body and just funnel the pucks into me in the bumper. I'll shoot them, I'll pass them. We have a really good dynamic on that."

On competing in Mullett:
"This place is awesome. The energy here is unbelievable. This is probably one of the best college atmospheres I've played in and I've played in a lot of really nice rinks. The fans here are awesome, the students here are awesome. Just looking around it's beautiful, it's breathtaking."