TEMPE – It’s the time to be thankful. And the Arizona State hockey team has a lot to thank for this holiday week: a new arena, mullett maniacs, glorious weather and, to use the words of a Minnesota native, Jack Jensensimply “Hockey in the desert with the boys”.
This year, the statement holds true as Sun Devil Hockey (7-6-0) won the No. 2/2 University of Minnesota (10-4-0) for the Golden Gophers’ first-ever trip to Arizona this Thanksgiving weekend at Mullett Arena on November 25-26 at 7pm MST. Limited tickets are still available for purchase, and both games are free to stream on Pac-12 Insider.
The last time ASU and Minnesota met was during the 2021-21 season and against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic. ASU partnered with the Big Ten Conference in which the Sun Devils played away all season, exclusively against Big Ten teams. The Sun Devils traveled 15,519 miles and accumulated 74 travel days, including 58 of their first 70 days on the road. The two teams Maroon and Gold competed against each other four times in one month, all in the 3M Arena. The Golden Gophers were ranked No. 1 and No. 4 during matchups.
Minnesota leads the all-time matchup record with six unanswered wins against ASU from March 2019. In all but two games against the Sun Devils, the Golden Gophers ranked in the top five in national polls.
The two teams are among the top ten youngest teams in the NCAA with an average age of 21 years. The Minnesota roster averages 21.1 years old, while the ASU competes at the ripe old age of 21.8.
The matchup sparks a tough series of opponents for the Sun Devils, who will make the journey to the Mile High City after battling the No. 2 Minnesota team to battle the reigning national champion and current University No. 1 at Magness Arena of Denver to compete.
SUN DEVIL REWIND
josh doan has a streak of points in four games, with two goals and four assists. The second captain moved up the stats list to tie the winger Robert Mastrosimone for the team leadership in points with 12.
Heading into the Clarkson series last weekend, Doan and Mastrosimone’s linemates Luke Silinger was in a five-game points streak that began on October 21 against Colorado College. He’s second with Doan this season with four goals and closely chasing the points lead with 11 (4G, 7A).
TJ Semptimphelter continues to rule the land between the pipes for the sun devils. The sophomore goaltender started all 13 games for ASU and finished fourth in the NCAA with 391 saves. He’s 7-6-0 on the season with a .927 save percentage and 2.38 goals against average. Its three shutouts (Bemidji State, Colgate, and Alaska Anchorage) rank second nationally.
The Sun Devils boast a top ten power play unit that converts at 25 percent with 11 power play goals. Last weekend in Clarkson, the Sun Devils’ penalty runs built on a 14-kill streak that finally faltered on Saturday night. ASU has beaten its opponents 165-150 this season and outperformed opponents on power plays by 11-9.
THE ARIZONA-MINNESOTA CONNECTION
In addition to Jensen, three other skaters (all freshmen) hail from the state of Minnesota: Tucker Ness, Teddy Lagerbackand Charlie Nice. Although a Scottsdale native, Senior Assistant Captain Demetrius Kumontzis spent his younger years playing junior hockey in the Land of 10,000 Lakes at Edina High School in Edina, MN.
Sophomore forward Matthew Knies, a childhood friend and former Phoenix Junior Coyotes teammate josh doanHe’s returning to his home state of Arizona this weekend. Knies leads the Gophers’ power play goal category and is third on the team in total points (8G, 6A, 14PTS) in all 14 Minnesota games.
Minnesota freshman forward Logan Cooley was drafted 3rd overall by the Arizona Coyotes in the first round of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. Continue reading on the Arizona Coyotes draft picks josh doan (37th overall pick in the 2021 NHL Draft) and Cooley’s experience at this summer’s development camp in Arizona. Cooley rounds out UM’s top five leaders with 12 (4G, 8A) to 13 games.
HISTORY VS. MINNESOTA (0-6-0)
ASU vs. #2 Minnesota – Nov. 26, 2022
ASU vs. #2 Minnesota – Nov. 25, 2022
L, 2-10 at #4 Minnesota – January 22, 2021
L, 0-10 ranked 4th Minnesota – January 21, 2021
L, 4-6 ranked 1st Minnesota – Jan. 4, 2021
L, 1-4 ranked #1 Minnesota – January 3, 2021
L, 2-5 in Minnesota – March 2, 2019
L, 1-5 in Minnesota – March 1, 2019