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Sun Devil hockey off to historic 4-0 start, jumps to No. 13 in national polls

Arizona State made history last weekend sweeping another opponent. This time it was Northern Michigan University, picking up wins 3-2 and 5-1 at Mullett Arena. ASU is off to a 4-0 start for the first time in its hockey team’s history. The surprising and exciting start has the Sun Devils ranked No. 13 in the latest USCHO rankings; the highest they’ve ever been ranked. 

After trailing the Wildcats 1-0 in the second period, the Sun Devils scored three straight goals, taking a 3-1 lead into the third period of play. Northern Michigan would respond with a late power play goal, cutting the lead down to one but Arizona State would hold on and win 3-2. Three different skaters would find the back of the net for ASU: Tim Lovell, Kyle Smolen and Tyler Gratton. Freshman Kyle Smole scored his first career collegiate goal putting his team up 2-1. The newly named captain and transfer graduate student, Tyler Gratton, scored his first goal with Arizona State on the power play. This would end up being the game-winning goal for ASU. Senior Tim Lovell picked up the secondary assist on Gratton’s power play tally, giving him a two point performance. 

The next night, Arizona State put home three power play goals, coming from three different skaters. One of those power play tallies came from senior assistant captain, Matthew Kopperud. The Denver, Colorado native’s 26th career power play goal as a Sun Devil set the team’s new record in this statistic. Kopperud passed Johnny Walker who held the previous school’s record with 25 power play goals. Walker spent five seasons as a Sun Devil from 2017 to 2022, recording over 120 points. Freshman Anthony Dowd, sophomore Charlie Schoen, and senior Alex Young all recorded two points in the 5-1 victory. Junior goalie TJ Semptimphelter earned both wins in between the pipes for the Sun Devils series win over Northern Michigan, improving to an impressive 4-0 record and 1.24 GAA (Goals Against Average) on the season. Through four games, transfer graduate student Brian Chambers leads ASU in points with five assists. Kopperud leads ASU in goals with three which are all game-winning goals. 

Arizona State will fly out to Ohio to take on Miami University for another two game series this Friday and Saturday, October 27th and 28th. Miami of Ohio is 3-1 on the season, riding a three-game win streak. They recently swept Canisius College in a two game series. Canisius made an appearance in the Men’s Hockey Championship Tournament last season before getting trounced by the University of Minnesota. This is the first pair of road games for ASU and it won’t be an easy matchup for the Sun Devils. Miami of Ohio plays in the National College Hockey Conference (NCHC) that ASU will be joining next season. With that in mind, the Sun Devils get their first of many future matchups against the Red Hawks this season. 

The latest USCHO rankings have Arizona State ranked above Penn State and the University of Wisconsin. With this season being their last as an independent team, ASU looks to continue to build off their strong start.

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