Miami University hockey faces off against Arizona State University (ASU), providing the Sun Devils with their first taste of a National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) game for the season.
The No. 13 nationally ranked Sun Devils will be the RedHawks’ first big test of the season. Miami is hoping to carry momentum from its series sweep over Canisius College two weeks ago.
“I think Arizona State on video and on paper is really good,” said head coach Chris Bergeron, “A top 15 team off to a really good start themselves … What we want to do is to try to keep the momentum and to prepare properly and focus on the process of our game.”
Miami is coming off an unprecedented early season break in the schedule, but Bergeron insists this will not phase the ’Hawks.
“They're hungry. It's still early in the year,” Bergeron said. “But I think the players want to keep playing, so they're excited to get playing again.”
This weekend series begins a tough stretch in the RedHawks’ schedule, with conference play beginning next weekend. However, Bergeron hopes to rely on veteran leadership in fifth-year captain defenseman Jack Clement and fifth-year goalie Logan Neaton to keep the team steady.
“I think that they're just the stabilizing personalities, both of them,” Bergeron said. “And that's how they'll help this program. Just stay level.”
This past July, the NCHC announced that ASU will be moving to the conference starting in the 2024-25 season.
With three NHL prospects and many other weapons on their team, the Sun Devils have gone 4-0 this season, defeating Merrimack College and Northern Michigan University. They have not faced any teams from the NCHC, which is widely regarded as the best league in college hockey.
The Sun Devils are a familiar foe for Teddy Lagerback, as he just transferred to Miami from ASU this season.
“I'm excited,” Lagerback said, “It should be a good opportunity, and we’re just going to try to get the win. They have some good players, but nothing we can't handle. We have a lot of good players on our team.
ASU is led in scoring by Matthew Kopperud, with the three goals and one assist followed by Lukas Sillinger and Tim Lovell who have tallied one goal and three assists a piece.