IceJacks brimming with confidence, momentum as new season here
On paper, both Northern Arizona University ACHA teams look to have solid rosters.
Both the Division 2 coaching staff (Travis Johanson, Kris Walsh, Colin Hughes) and Division 3 staff (Ryan Smith, Billy Brennan, Brandon Schinzel) have their teams out to positive starts as each squad went undefeated in the early part of October, the D-2 team going 4-0 and the D-3 team 2-0.
“The coaching staffs have really stepped up this year,” said Johanson. “We’re expecting big things out of both teams this year. Our numbers were down for tryouts, but the talent level was way up this year. It made for a very competitive camp.”
The IceJacks’ D-2 team opened with four wins and outscoring their opponents 40-2.
“This is by far the deepest team we’ve had since I’ve been here,” said Johanson. “We can roll four lines and with the defensemen, we know that any of the six or seven we put out there and going to be solid for us. Our goalies (Jaxson Gosnell and Josh Nolan) are both returning and had three shutouts in our first four games.
“We’re really excited to see what the future holds for this team.”
In the first quartet of games, NAU swept both Colorado State University and Arizona State University’s maroon squad. The IceJacks also defeated the Phoenix Knights junior team in a preseason exhibition on Sept. 23.
On the D-3 side, Johanson said the team looks to be “a lot better than last year.”
“We have a young team with the D-3 team this year, but the leadership group is back and will help the younger players, help them adjust to college hockey, and what college hockey is all about,” he said. “With the strong group of returning players, we expect a lot from this team.”
— Matt Mackinder
(Nov. 7, 2017)