Arizona Rubber

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Despite setbacks, NAU D-II squad looking for strong second half

 

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Northern Arizona University’s ACHA Division II team had high expectations heading into the 2019-20 season.

And even with recent injuries to three players that will see each one miss the remainder of the season, those expectations have not changed one bit, according to IceJacks head coach Travis Johanson.

A slew of other players have also been on the sidelines this season with various injuries.

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“The start of December will be a big test for our team,” said Johanson. “Other guys will have to step up, and that’s what we expect will happen. Injuries are a part of the game and when one guy goes down, another one has to step up. It’s happened before and we see it happening again.”

Next month, NAU plays three straight showcase games Dec. 5-7 in Las Vegas at the SoBe Ice Arena, kicking off with the University of California-Berkeley on Dec. 5, then the University of Cincinnati the next day and wrapping up with San Jose State University on Dec. 7 before breaking for exams and the holidays.

The week before Thanksgiving, the IceJacks are in another showcase, playing four games in Utah from Nov. 21-24 against Utah State University, Weber State University, Brigham Young University and Northern Colorado University.

“We need a strong finish in the first half to put ourselves in a good position to make a playoff run once we get back from break,” said Johanson. “We have had kids playing positions they are not used to, but that has been going pretty well. Our two new goalies have played well, too. This has been one of those seasons, but we’re going to keep grinding and grinding and see where that effort takes us.”

— Matt Mackinder

(Nov. 21, 2019)