The man in the net
The 2020-21 season was one of intense disappointment for ASU Men’s Hockey. A grueling schedule with no home games, several key departures and countless injuries all helped contribute to the Sun Devils’ paltry 7-16-3 record, a major setback for a program coming off of consecutive 20-win campaigns.
Though the team struggled as a collective, the play of freshman goaltender Cole Brady provided a rare bright spot. In his first taste of college hockey, the Pickering, ON native acquainted himself well, posting a 3-5-2 record to go along with a very respectable .910 save percentage despite regularly facing a high volume of shots. He performed especially well in the second half of the season after returning from an illness that cost him a month’s worth of games, and had all but taken over the starting job from junior Evan DeBrouwer by season’s end.
As Brady enters his sophomore season, Arizona State will be counting on him to solidify the goaltending position. The Sun Devils used four different goalies in 2020-21, and their lack of depth in net was fully exposed. During Brady’s absence, the team allowed an average of almost seven goals per game and even resorted to playing ACHA goalie Bronson Moore during the third period of a 10-0 blowout loss to Minnesota.
The Sun Devils largely struggled to keep up with their opponents in the Big Ten last season, but they were competitive when they received passable goaltending. Arizona State held a 2-2-2 record in games where Brady finished with a .900 save percentage or better despite being badly outplayed in a number of those contests.
Despite his lack of experience, Brady performed admirably against some of the best competition in college hockey, which bodes well for the future of ASU’s goaltending. The Sun Devils will return to a normal schedule this season, and the arrival of a recruiting class that features two talented defensemen can only help Brady’s cause moving forward. If Brady can come close to matching his production from 2020-21, the team’s goal of returning to the NCAA tournament should be well within reach.