I went to the ASu vs USNTDP game last night. Here's my thoughts on ASU.
They are fast, especially the forwards. they play the heavy game, a la BG or UND. They try very hard to transition you and catch you on the wrong side of the puck. The whole system is designed to get an odd man rush and even from inside their own end they are always looking to break you down quickly. The defense is big generally, though they do have some smaller guys but they do not get involved all that much and the bigger defense do a good imitation of large traffic cones. So they can be turned. They are pretty physical, especially in the corners. They have guys who can shoot it. They had two goals last night into a 3 in sq spot, high stick side,.... from the blue line.
On the PK, they use a 1 1 2, and pressure the puck pretty hard, all the time. they especially like to pressure the point and cover the man who is most likely to provide puck support. thus getting an odd man rush back the other way. They do not cover down low nearly as well but still pressure the puck.
on the pp, they use an umbrella plus two in the slot, one high, one low. So there is not guys off to the sides and one guy in front.One of the umbrella guys will come down on the weak side sometimes but generally not. they leave the back door uncovered for the most part. if the play gets down low the defensemen will move tighter and be just above the top of the face-off circles. They use 4 forwards and one defenseman in the pp.
this game was not a fun game to watch. There was an incident in the third period where ASU did what the ntdp coaches considered a dirty, unnecessary hit along the boards with asu up 4-1. This incensed the ntdp coaches, as it was an exhibition game after all, and a big brouhaha ensued with coaches screaming at each other and the ASU coaches almost leaving the bench. Honestly it was the worst display of non sportsmanship I have ever seen. Ever. Shortly afterwards, there was a scrum in front of the ASU goal which resulted in quite the brawl. Bigger than you generally see by a lot. I left at that time, but i'm not sure there was a handshake line.
ASU reminded me of a good ECHL team in the way they played. The ntdp players were just so young and still growing into themselves. Size wise they were no match for asu, but they had a lot of skill and speed.