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Sun Devils inline program gearing up for 2017-18 season did last season.” Boyarsky believes that Bast, a sophomore, could rizona State University will once again have two produce a breakout season in 2017-18. teams competing in the Western Collegiate Roller With the graduation of goaltender Braxton ShulHockey League (WCRHL) this tz, the Sun Devils will rely season — Division I and Divion Gittings, a sophomore, to sion III Black. brace the team. The ScottsThe Division I team feadale native suffered a near fatures eight returning playtal (non-hockey related) injury ers: forwards Wes Fry, Jabefore the start of the second kob Romo, Cy Jewel and semester in 2016-17 and has Ian Bast and defensemen spent the better part of eight Ryan Cotton, Jayme Havemonths recovering. man, Trevor Weinstock “Gittings is very close to and Aryeh Richter. They are being back at 100 percent, joined by new additions Aarand honestly when he gets on Bland and Kyle Friedman there, he should be one of the (up from the Division III team) top five goalies in the counat forward, defenseman Troy try,” Boyarsky noted. Grahl and goaltender Aaron ASU’s Division I team finGittings. ished 17-11-1 in 29 games “With Bland and Grahl, we last season. The Sun Devils have two very seasoned ice advanced as far as semifinals hockey veterans who will have in the WCRHL regional chamto transition their ice skills to pionships and absorbed a loss the game of roller hockey and, to eventual national champiassuming they can do this as on Farmingdale State in the we believe they can, the com- Ryan Cotton is among the top returners this season quarterfinal playoffs at April’s ing season should see one of on the back end for the Arizona State University inline National Collegiate Roller the more balanced ASU Divi- hockey team. Photo/NCRHA Hockey Association (NCRHA) sion I rosters in recent memory,” ASU program coach national championship tournament in Fort Myers, Fla. Nick Boyarsky said. “We went to nationals last year with the goal of “We’ll continue to rely on our big guns like Have- reaching the Elite Eight, which we accomplished by man and Cotton on defense and Fry and Romo on the winning all three of our pool games and beating Bethel front end to set the tone and lead by example as they in the Sweet Sixteen,” Boyarsky said. “Having to face By Phillip Brents

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Farmingdale in the Elite Eight was a tough one for us. “We’ll be going into this season with the goal of winning out both the regular season in the WCRHL and the WCRHL regional championship. Doing this will earn us a spot in the top pool at nationals, where hopefully we can reach our goal of nothing less than Final Four and a chance at a national championship.” ASU’s Division III Black squad will undergo a “changing of the guard,” according to Boyarsky, with its core group in 2017-18 consisting of six freshmen and four sophomores — all of whom have extensive roller hockey backgrounds and a strong pre-built chemistry together. Paxton Parker, Miguel Cazares, Jordan Behm, Collin Mchugh, Clint Tapsell and goaltender Garret Ruby all come from the Arizona-based Konixx Outcasts travel program. Parker, Cazares and Ruby were part of the Outcasts team that won the 2017 NARCh West Coast Finals Midget Gold championship in San Jose. “This year’s Division III team has the most highend roller experience of an Division III Black team in club history,” Boyarsky said. “The freshman and sophomores on this club are young and hungry, which is what we’ve been missing.” Olympian and local heroine Lyndsey Fry, who is in her second year of post-graduate studies ASU, will provide a leadership role on the young Division III squad. “Lyndsey’s roller game has come a long way since her first go at it with ASU two seasons ago,” Boyarsky said. “She’s played a good amount of roller on stages all over the world and I feel can both offer the leadership and talent this young team will need to make a run at nationals this year.”

Wildcats, Lumberjacks battle for WCRHL D-II supremacy By Phillip Brents

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he University of Arizona defeated Northern Arizona University in overtime to capture last season’s Western Collegiate Roller Hockey League (WCRHL) Division II championship. Both teams should once again contend for the division title. The Wildcats finished with an overall 16-6-3 record in 2016-17. Included was a 2-1 loss to the Florida Gators in the Sweet Sixteen round of last April’s National Collegiate Roller Hockey National Championship Tournament in Fort Myers, Fla. The Wildcats have a number of great additions for the upcoming season, according to club president-goaltender Brett Bushnell. Freshman Ben Jackson will be a player to watch, according to Bushnell, due to both his size and quick release. Junior goaltender Kenny Eakle returns to the team after taking year off to focus on academics to further buttress the team’s netminding foundation. Top returners include sophomore Jacob Toro, senior Jared Johnson, junior David Santos and Bushnell — a solid core group that should help the team make another run at nationals. “Overall, I believe the Division II team will perform very well in WCRHL play, with a strong veteran group and a larger bench this year, adding on two more players for a nine-man bench,” Bushnell said. “Last year, our biggest issue was guys getting tired due to our seven-man bench. To put that into comparison, most high tier Division II or Division I teams will carry a bench of 10-11 guys, which makes all the difference when going into the fourth or fifth game of the season.

“Last year’s loss to Florida in the Sweet Sixteen A..J. Wright. Defenders Austin Cannon and Camwas a tough one for us. A few of us felt we should den Taylor, along with goaltender Anders Hultgren, have won that game, so we are definitely looking at are also top returners. going deeper into nationals this year.” “A.J. is a solid stay-at-home defenseman for us NAU piled up some incredible numbers in its first who we will need to play well for us to succeed,” season back on the rink in 2016-17. The same can be Riffey said. “Anders should keep us in contention evsaid about NAU forward Trevor Riffey. ery game we play this year.” The Lumberjacks Newcomers to posted a 12-10-3 the inline team inrecord, inclusive of clude Danny Diaz, a 3-1 showing at the who crosses over national championfrom NAU’s ice ship tournament. program and is exRiffey was an pected to add to offensive force for the team’s scoring NAU with 58 goals punch, and freshman and 75 points, 11 Josh Roff, who is power-play goals, well adapted to the two shorthandroller hockey style of ed goals and five play as a member of game-winning goals the Konixx Outcasts in 24 games. program. “I am excited for “Our expectathe second year of tions are high this NAU roller hockey to University of Arizona goaltender Brett Bushnell is among the Wildcats’ core year,” Riffey said. get going and to see group of returning players. Photo/NCRHA “We are able to what our team can do this year,” Riffey said. practice on campus now in the field house where the The Lumberjacks, bolstered by a large tryout group ice rink will be put up soon. It is concrete but there are and returning class, should be a team to watch once nets and a rink lined out so that helps; we are able to again in 2017-18. practice all year long now. “We have almost everyone returning except for “One of our main goals is to win the WCRHL Dithree players,” Riffey noted. vision II title at regionals and lead our conference all Top returners include Riffey, who is in his final sea- year long. We plan on getting a bid to nationals again son of collegiate roller hockey, as well as fellow senior and surprising some teams out there as well.” AZRubberHockey.com

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Arizona Rubber Magazine - October 2017  

Check out the new issue of Arizona Rubber Magazine, featuring three players from USA Hockey's NTDP with Arizona ties on the cover!

Arizona Rubber Magazine - October 2017  

Check out the new issue of Arizona Rubber Magazine, featuring three players from USA Hockey's NTDP with Arizona ties on the cover!