IceJacks sweep New Mexico
BY TYLER CHILDERS —
The Northern Arizona University (NAU) Division III IceJacks played their final home games of the season on Feb. 1 and Feb. 2 when they welcomed the University of New Mexico (UNM) Lobos to the Jay Lively Activity Center.
NAU blew out UNM on Feb. 1 9–2, but UNM bounced back from the loss for a much closer second game. Despite the closer competition, the result turned out the same and NAU went on to win 6–2.
For the Feb. 2 matchup, UNM carried the momentum through the first half of the first period. UNM was inches away from scoring, but a great defensive play cleared the loose puck out of the crease.
NAU took the puck back the other way and with two quick goals, stole momentum away. Every time UNM looked to generate some momentum, the Ice Jacks responded with goals.
NAU forward Kirby Carlson said he doesn’t want all the credit. He credits his success this past weekend to good chemistry with his linemates.
“We’ve been playing really well in practice,” Carlson said.
Special teams were a strength again for the Ice Jacks. In the fall semester, the IceJacks power play worked poorly but the changes by head coach Kris Walsh have helped get the puck the back of the net.
“We changed the full system,” Walsh said. “We’re creating more opportunities due to different positioning, that’s been a huge improvement.”
UNM’s troubles started before the puck even dropped on Feb. 1. Starting goalie Andrew Blair showed up to the rink late, and the car he was driving contained six players’ skates. UNM ended up having to start the game with their backup goalie and only seven players. The rest of the team eventually got their skates, but the Ice Jacks would not be stopped.
Carlson batted the UNM breakout pass out of midair, ripped a slap shot and beat backup UNM goalie Dakota Dyth under the glove to start the scoring.
Carlson’s linemates also had great games. Benoit Cousineau recorded a hat trick for the second straight game, while Tyler Tritschler had five assists.
“They’re just great players,” Cousineau said of Carlson and Tritschler. “They work hard all the time, the keep me happy, I keep them happy, [we’re] just having fun.”
The IceJacks will face the Arizona State Sun Devils on Feb. 8 and 9 in Tempe. This will be the fourth series this season between the two teams. Every series up to this point has been split between the two.