Nov. 24—BEMIDJI — Mattias Sholl has played at Oceanside Ice Arena, the intimate home of the Arizona State. But he's in the extreme minority among Bemidji State men's hockey players.
For most of the Beavers, heading down to Tempe, Ariz., to face the Sun Devils on Wednesday and Friday will be a brand new experience.
BSU has never faced Arizona State, which moved up to Division I in 2015. It's a different challenge — and an unusual climate — for a November hockey game.
For reference, the forecasted high for Friday is 79 degrees.
"If you take a look at it historically, teams don't do very well when they go to Arizona State," Bemidji State head coach Tom Serratore said. "So I hope our frame of mind is good."
Sholl, who could very well start one or both of the games in net, will be more familiar with the environment thanks to his youth hockey experience in the building. But he knows that this series will be a different beast entirely.
"It's going to be kind of less of an adjustment for me, but obviously, that was youth hockey," Sholl said. "Now it's college hockey, (different) level. I think it's going to be exciting. It's going to be a small arena, and hopefully it's gonna be packed with the fans as much as it can. Maybe a noisy environment, we'll see."
Oceanside is unique among college hockey arenas for its compressed size. The facility seats less than 1,000, with most fans right up against the glass.
"It's a small rink," Serratore said. "It seats 800. It's a home-ice advantage to another level."
The Beavers (7-5, 6-2 CCHA) face the Sun Devils (6-6) at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 24, and Friday, Nov. 26, flanking Turkey Day for a sandwich that Thanksgiving leftovers would be proud of. But BSU's main objective on this trip is not to enjoy the holiday or the desert fall weather.
"It's a business trip," Serratore said. "Yeah, it's just nice to go down there during Thanksgiving, but again, we're hockey players, and we got business (to do)."
Sholl, a native of Hermosa Beach, Calif., will be able to mix a little pleasure with business, as his family will be in Tempe for the holiday.
"They're going to be attending the games, so I'm sure I'm going to be able to spend some time with them," he said. "So that's gonna be really nice."