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ASU ends season with strong finish at inline nationals By Phillip Brents

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rizona State University’s inline hockey team did not bring back a national championship trophy from the 2019 National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association (NCRHA) Championships April 10-14 in Rochester, N.Y. But the Sun Devils did bring back a lot of national pride for their program after scoring a Final Four finish among Division I teams. “Great season, boys,” ASU co-coach Nick Boyarsky succinctly summed up in a tweet to the team. The reigning WCRHL Division I champions faced off pool play in the 58-team tournament with a 9-0 setback to defending national champion Farmingdale State, then defeated Florida Gulf Coast University 3-2 before closing out pool play with a 4-0 loss to Lindenwood University, last year’s national championship runner-up. The Sun Devils proceeded to elevate their game in the elimination bracket. ASU defeated Michigan State 6-2 in the quarterfinals as Aryeh Richter scored two goals and Alex MacDonald collected four points (one goal, three assists) to pace the ASU offense while goaltender Aaron Gittings posted a .926 save percentage with 25 saves on 27 shots. The playoff win advanced the Sun Devils to a rematch against Farmingdale State in the semifinals. The second meeting was much closer. ASU’s season ended with a gritty 4-0 loss. The Sun Devils trailed 3-0 until Farmingdale State scored an empty-net goal late in the game. Gittings stopped 27 of 30 shots in a stellar performance as he and his teammates killed off eight consecutive minutes of

penalties at one point in the game. Gittings termed it a “brave effort.” Farmingdale State went on to defeat Lindenwood 7-3 to win its third consecutive national championship. The Sun Devils proved they were not too far behind in the final national rankings. Peoria native Chase Steele, an 18-year-old varsity newcomer, led ASU in overall scoring in 2018-

Arizona State University’s Ian Bast (left) brings the puck up court in the team’s Division I quarterfinal win over Michigan State at April’s NCRHA Championships in Rochester, N.Y. Photo/NCRHA

19 with 43 points (21 goals, 22 assists) in 27 games, followed by senior Wes Fry with 32 points (19 goals, 13 assists). Ian Bast and Alex MacDonald each recorded 25 points, followed by Trevor Weinstock with 24 points. Fry, Gittings and MacDonald all earned honorable mention on the 2019 NCRHA Division I All-Tournament Team.

ASU’s Division IV development team also competed at the 2019 NCRHA National Championship Tournament, playing a total of five games. The Sun Devils finished 0-3 in pool play after dropping contests against Slippery Rock (6-2), Michigan State (6-1) and Bethel University (4-1), but did log a 1-1 showing in the elimination bracket. ASU defeated the Rochester Institute of Technology 12-0 in a first-round playoff game before ending the tournament with a 6-2 quarterfinal-round setback to Farmingdale State, last year’s national runner-up. John Henze and Griffin Roman led the Sun Devils with four goals and one assist each in the win over RIT while teammate Clint Tapsell collected two goals and three assists. Goaltender Scott Keohane stopped all nine RIT shots he faced. Henze and Shaun MacDonald each scored goals for ASU in the loss to Farmingdale State. Bethel defeated Farmingdale State 4-1 to win the national championship. The Sun Devils’ Division IV team finished 201819 with a 22-5 overall record that included a 17 game-winning streak. Colin McHugh, an honorable mention All-Tournament Team selection, led the Sun Devils in overall scoring in 2018-19 with 77 points (29 goals, 48 assists) in 25 games, followed by Henze with 68 points (44 goals, 24 assists) and MacDonald with 64 points (24 goals, 40 assists). “The D4 boys lost half their team from the start of the year and didn’t even think they’d go to nationals,” Boyarsky noted. “They ended up with a good showing though, losing in the round of eight, including a 4-1 battle with the eventual champs Bethel. Cheers to the graduating seniors.” AZRubberHockey.com

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Profile for Rubber Hockey Magazines

Arizona Rubber Magazine - May 2019  

The May issue of Arizona Rubber Magazine, featuring the Inline Hockey Association of Arizona on the cover, has hit the streets!

Arizona Rubber Magazine - May 2019  

The May issue of Arizona Rubber Magazine, featuring the Inline Hockey Association of Arizona on the cover, has hit the streets!