The No. 1 Ohio State men’s hockey team will open its season on the road against Arizona State (2-0) this weekend.
Though the excitement and anticipation of getting on the ice for the first time could be distracting, players are trying to prepare themselves as they would for any other game.
“We try to treat it like any other game, but there’s obviously the excitement of kind of getting things under way,” senior defenseman Sasha Larocque said. “We’ve been here for quite a while playing against each other and it’s kind of getting old, so to get some new competition is always a welcome opportunity.”
The Buckeyes new competition in Arizona State, which had a challenging 2017-2018 campaign, finishing 8-21-5, good for the fourth-worst winning percentage in the nation. The Sun Devils recorded 72 goals in 34 games last season..
This season, the team returns 21 players and 84 percent of their scoring from last season.The Sun Devils enter their matchup having swept Alaska Fairbanks in their season-opening series, allowing zero goals in either game and killing all eight penalties they faced.
Ohio State will have to look out for junior defenseman Brinson Pasichnuk, a defenseman who led the team in points last season and who has already notched three points in the first two games.
Ohio State’s strong play on offense, however, should be able to create shots against Arizona State’s defense, which led the nation in shots on goal allowed per game last season.
“They’re just a hard-working team,” senior forward Brendon Kearney said. “They’ve done a good job kind of turning their program into one that’s going to compete every single night and be tough to beat and we’re kind of getting more into what they do, and as of now, right, it’s just to show up and be ready to work because that’s what they bring.”
As they begin their season, the Buckeyes will try and get off to a hot start after being ranked No. 1 in the nation by the USCHO and USA Today Men’s Hockey polls for the first time in team history.
The puck drops for Ohio State at 10:05 p.m. on Friday and Saturday against Arizona State.