Friday, November 1, 2019

Weekend Preview: Arizona State Sun Devils

Ethan de Jong and the Bobcats head west for the weekend against Arizona State
Arizona State Head Coach: Greg Powers (5th season)

2018-2019 Arizona State record: 3-3

All-time vs. Arizona State: Quinnipiac leads series 4-1-1

Arizona State Key Players: Johnny Walker (F), James Sanchez (F), Demetrios Koumontzis (F), Tyler Busch (F), Brinson Pasichnuk (D), Joshua Maniscalco (D), Jacob Wilson (D), Evan Debrouwer (G)

Arizona State is coming off the best season in the programs short history. A 21 win season culminated into an at-large berth into the NCAA tournament for the first time ever. However the stay was a short one as they were beaten by the Quinnipiac team they will face this weekend in Tempe, Arizona. Both teams are different than when they met in April with many key players having departed but expect this to be a good tough match-up like it was back in April.

The Sun Devils have an elite forward in Johnny Walker who already has 10 points in six games. He was a force for Arizona State a year ago with 23 goals and has already picked up right where he left off. Quinnipiac will need to account for him every second he is on the ice. The Bobcats did a really good job of limiting Walker to just one shot in last years NCAA tournament game. Junior transfer James Sanchez is off to a nice start with 8 points having last played for Michigan in the 2017-2018 season in which he had a total of 8 points in 27 games. He is expected to be a big part of their offense. Demetrios Koumontzis is the lone draft pick on the Sun Devils roster who had 20 points a year ago as a freshman. The 2018 4th round pick of the Calgary Flames is expected to carry a bigger load this season. Co-captain Tyler Busch also brings some consistent offense for the Sun Devils as he had 21 points a season ago. The Arizona State power play is middle of the pack at 17.2% but with key players such as Walker on it, staying out of the box is a necessity for Quinnipiac.

Arizona State features two of the better defensemen in the country. Senior Brinson Pasichnuk was a force last year with 30 points and is already off to a hot start with six points this year. Pasichnuk who should be a highly sought after NHL free agent after the season had the lone goal for the Sun Devils in last years NCAA tournament game. Joining him on the blue line is sophomore Joshua Maniscalco who had 20 points as a freshman a year ago and already has six this year including two power play goals. If there is an area the Sun Devils struggle when it comes to defense its on the penalty kill where they have killed only 72.7% of all power plays. This is an area that Quinnipiac needs to exploit in this match-up.

Gone is goaltender Joey Daccord who signed with the Ottawa Senators after his junior season. Daccord was a big factor in the Sun Devils success last season so its expected his presence will be missed. Sophomore Evan Debrouwer has five starts for the Sun Devils and is 2-3 with a 2.74 goals against and a .908 save percentage. Boston University transfer Max Prawdzik has the other start for Arizona State while former Qunnipiac commit Justin Robbins has seen action in relief duty. Debrouwer has played in the last four games and while he struggled against one of the top teams in Minnesota State he was very good on the road against Air Force with a shutout and two goals allowed the following night as the Sun Devils swept on the road in Colorado Springs.

These will be important games for Quinnipiac for pairwise implications as I believe a sweep is necessary as I don't believe that Arizona State will have anywhere close to the season they had a year ago making these games that much more important to win. This is the final early season non-conference games before ECAC play opens up next weekend.


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