Rolling Along Sun Devils off to fast start as 2019-20 collegiate inline hockey season begins assists. The play of Gittings – 1.75 goals-against average and .918 save percentage in three games – will be key in the team’s success this season as it hones its defensive discipline and play. Other top performers included Anthony Paquet, Chase Steele and Blake Tallas, who each scored four goals. It’s a largely new but exciting group for both
against Chico State. Bast, who played the goaltender position rizona State University has consistently been throughout his youth ice hockey career but skates out one of the top teams not only in the Western in roller hockey, came to the rescue with 28 saves on Collegiate Roller Hockey League (WCRHL) over the 32 shots. past decade, but also one of the top teams at the “Ian played his first competitive roller hockey game national level. as a goalie in the Chico State game and, all things The Sun Devils have made appearances in five of considered, he played really well,” Boyarsky said. the last 10 WCRHL Division I championship finals and Bast also played the first five minutes of the advanced as far as the semifinals of last season’s Fullerton game and allowed one goal until Gittings Division I bracket at the 2019 National Collegiate was ready to take over between the pipes for the Roller Hockey Championships. duration of the tournament. ASU’s development team has proven even Gittings played very well in the tournament but more successful with seven regional titles in eight lost a superb goaltending duel to Cal Poly’s Nic appearances since the 2008-09 season. Leacox, a former member of Team USA’s national Early indications are to expect similar results junior men’s team. Leacox stopped all 15 ASU in 2019-20. shots he faced while Gittings stopped 24 of 25 The Sun Devils’ Division I squad posted a 3-1 (.960 save percentage). record at October’s annual WCRHL kickoff event “Cal Poly has always done two things very well,” in San Jose, Calif. Arizona State doubled the score Boyarsky noted. “They hold their possessions for on new division rival CSU Fullerton, winning by a a long time while they have a lead and they are score of 6-3. very stingy with giving up scoring chances for ASU also collected non-divisional victories the other team. This game was no different. Our against Chico State (8-4) and West Valley College puck-hungry forwards struggled with the lack of (12-2). The Sun Devils’ lone loss was 1-0 to Cal time they got with the puck and took chances Poly San Luis Obispo in another non-divisional they shouldn’t have and in turn, lost us the puck game. multiple times.” “Like every year’s first games, we learned a lot “This was a lesson in why there must be about our team, our strength, our weaknesses, patience in a long college roller hockey game, and and where we need to improve before we play possessions that matter,” Dodt added. “Our young again,” ASU program director Nick Boyarsky and offensively-hungry forward core will hopefully said. “Overall, we’re very encouraged with the learn from this loss going into future games.” offensive threats this year’s team has. However, Tallas, another talented freshman, earned the we also know that collegiate games are won in the top star of the game honors in the win over West defensive zone and we have to be better on that Valley College with three goals and one assist end of the rink by the end of the year.” while Paquet, also a freshman, had a hat trick. Freshman forwards Seth Davis, Logan “We have a great group of forwards who Corrigan and Grant Ziegler, along with returning really want to make things happen in the offensive goaltender Aaron Gittings, provided highlights for zone,” Dodt said. “However, they come from the Sun Devils at the season-opening tournament. Logan Corrigan is among a talented freshman group looking to make backgrounds where their two-way play wasn’t as With a combined 10 goals and 21 points in an impact on this season’s Arizona State University inline hockey team. important as it will be with this team in this tight the four games, Davis, Corrigan and Ziegler are Photo/Nick Boyarsky/ASU D-1 division. already showing their offensive prowess to be on a Boyarsky and head coach Alex Dodt to work with. “Against the top D-1 teams this year, Gittings will level the team hasn’t seen in years, according to Ian Bast, one of the team’s most experienced have to carry a bit more of the burden than he’s had Boyarsky. returners, pitched in with four assists at the San Jose to during the past two years. I think he’s confident, as Davis led the team in scoring with six goals and tournament while serving as an emergency goaltender are the coaching staff and his teammates, that he can eight points while Corrigan dished out a team-high five when Gittings was unavailable for the opening game shoulder that load and keep us in games.” By Phillip Brents
WCRHL development teams receive own showcase division
ix Western Collegiate Roller Hockey League (WCRHL) programs are fielding secondary developmental squads for the 2019-20 season, including Arizona State University, the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University. Now officially dubbed the Division IV tier in the WCRHL’s hierarchy, the division is for new and less-experienced players to hone their skills while working to make the lineup for their respective program’s primary team. It’s not uncommon for secondary teams to not field a full practice with all of the prospects in place over the opening weeks of the season. Arizona State defeated Northern Arizona to capture last season’s regional championship. However, ASU program director Nick
Boyarsky said this year’s developmental squad will be largely stocked with new players. Yuma’s Miguel Cazares is the top returner on the Sun Devils’ Division IV team after logging 23 goals and 47 points in 25 games last season as the 2018-19 team advanced to the National Collegiate Roller Hockey Championships in Rochester, N.Y. Last season’s team was highly successful, compiling a dominating 20-2 record through the regional tournament while buoyed by a 17game winning streak. The team played five games at the national championship tournament, ending its season with a 6-2 quarterfinal-round loss to Farmingdale State, the eventual division
champion. Boyarsky said he expects this season’s Division IV lineup to be filled by incoming freshmen or players who are new to the club after a largescale turnover from last season. “The turnover is usually one, two or sometimes three a year, but we haven’t had an almost wholesale change of players in the history of the program,” Boyarsky said. “It’s a bit exciting and a bit intimidating but the talent and desire to be there and compete is there.” Both NAU and the University of Arizona fielded competitive squads in 2018-19. NAU finished 9-12 overall while the University of Arizona finished 7-9. NAU, braced by goaltender Jakob Ogan, upset UC Santa Barbara 4-2 in the regional semifinals. - Phillip Brents AZRubberHockey.com
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