DIII IceJacks split series with ASU

 
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BY TYLER CHILDERS — 

The NAU Division III IceJacks came out strong Jan. 19 at Jay Lively Activity Center against theASU Division III Sun Devils. The Jacks played as though they had something to prove after dropping the Jan. 18 game between the two in an exciting shootout. The Jacks rolled ASU Jan. 19, scoring eight unanswered goals on the way to a 9-3 victory.

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Division III senior defenseman Ian Shaeffer guides the puck away from the goal during the fourth period at Jay Lively for the ASU vs. IceJacks game on Jan 18. The NAU IceJacks lost to ASU after a shoot out 4 – 4 (2-1). (Photo by Amanda Ray)

Sophomore forward Michael Isbell started the scoring early Saturday for NAU. Isbell received a long cross-ice pass from sophomore forwardChas Scott, skated down the left-wing boards and beat ASU goaltender Frank Grimes 25 seconds into the game.

Head coach Kris Walsh felt the team had areas in which they could improve after the initial loss.

“Taking care of our end of the zone first was huge,” Walsh said. “Overall that was definitely a huge improvement for us tonight compared to last night.”

The offense was coming from everywhere for the Jacks. Eight players scored nine goals, while Kirby Carlson recorded a pair of assists.

“Everyone was really hyped,” said junior forward Greg Hughes. “We just came out strong and buried our chances and put the puck in the net like we should.”

The score was 8-1 after two periods and the Sun Devils showed their frustration in the third.

ASU senior forward Austin Wells had seen enough with 10:44 left in the third period when he ripped IceJack freshman forward Trent Boice’s helmet off and started to punch Boice. Wells earned 12 penalty minutes and was disqualified, leaving his Sun Devils to play a man down for the last 10 minutes of the game. If any miracle were to happen, Wells cut it short.

“After we got the first couple of goals, we realized we could not let up and let them back into the game like we did last night,” said sophomore  NAU defenseman Jake Smets.

The game on Jan. 18 was much closer, but ASU held on to take it. ASU jumped out to a 2-0 lead before the Jacks rallied four unanswered goals.

The Sun Devils didn’t quit and battled back, tying the game with 8:03 left in regulation. Overtime did not produce a winner, so they went to a shootout.

Only Hughes found the back of the net for NAU in the shootout loss, dangling Grimes with a beautiful deke.

“I’ve been practicing that all year since like probably August or September,” Hughes said. “So I’m glad I finally got to use it.”

The DIII IceJacks are on the road next weekend for three games in Colorado. They will return to the Jay Lively Arena to host University of New Mexico Feb. 1 and 2.

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