Arizona State hockey hits the road to face the best team in the country

Arizona State Hockey (15-12) heads to number one Minnesota State (23-5-0 overall, 17-3-0 CCHA) for a weekend series. ASU is coming off three straight road wins on an East Coast trip that included victories over the Northeast No. 11 and RIT.

Both programs will be represented at the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, with ASU junior forward Peter Zhong entering program history as the first player to make the Olympic roster. Zhong will represent his native country, China. Zhong has taken an Olympic break this season to focus on training with the Chinese team.

Minnesota State head coach Mike Hastings will serve as assistant coach for Team USA. Hastings will be joined on the USA team by junior forward Nathan Smith. Smith currently leads the nation in scoring with 38 points (15 goals, 23 assists).

Dating back to the teams’ first meeting of the 2018-19 season, Minnesota State is 2-0-1 against ASU. In the last series between the two teams two seasons ago, MSU swept ASU. ASU’s only victory against Minnesota State came in the 2018 Sun Devil Classic third-place game when ASU won in a shootout.

Between the posts, Minnesota State is held back by senior guard and two-time All-American Dryden McKay. McKay is 23-4-0 for the season with a .930 save percentage and a 1.24 goals-against average. The eldest was recently named to the watch list for the Mike Richter Award, the highest honor given to goaltenders in college hockey.

ASU forward Josh Doan leads all freshmen in the nation with 29 points (nine goals, 20 assists). Doan has eight points in the last four games, including two three-point games. Graduate forward Colin Theisen leads the team with 32 points (16 goals, 16 assists), which ranks him third among all NCAA skaters. Theisen and sophomore forward Matthew Kopperud were recently named ASU’s Hobey Baker nominees. Kopperud is second on the team with 31 points (14 goals, 17 assists).

Around campus

—After taking on the two top-ranked programs in the nation, Arizona State Gymnastics will host Pac-12 opponent Washington for its home opener Friday at 7 p.m. from the Desert Financial arena. The Sun Devils posted the best season-opening team score in program history with a 196.275 against top-ranked Michigan two weeks ago. Against No. 2 Utah, ASU junior Hannah Scharf won her first all-around title of the year with a 39.500.

-No. 11 Arizona State Wrestling (5-3, 2-0 Pac-12) returns to Desert Financial Arena for the first time since its home opener in November to host Oregon State on Sunday at 2 p.m. ASU previously won 20-18 over Cal Poly on Monday. .

— Arizona State Water Polo hosts University of Ottawa Arizona and Loyola Marymount for a two-day tournament Saturday and Sunday at the Mona Plummer Aquatic Center. ASU will face Loyola Marymount twice, starting at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. on Sunday. Loyola Marymount and Ottawa University Arizona will play in the afternoon.

– Arizona State Baseball will host the annual Alumni Day with a three-inning exhibition game featuring several former players including Dustin Pedroia, Andre Ethier, Ryan Burr, Deven Marrero, Paul Ray Powell, Andrew Romine, Tuffy Gosewisch and more. The event is free and open to the public with doors opening at 9:30 a.m.

Contact the reporter at [email protected] or 602-647-4122. Follow her on Twitter @jennarortiz.

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