IceJacks coming together with ACHA playoffs approaching in Idaho
The ACHA Division II season for Northern Arizona University came down to the final week of the season.
Final rankings were released on Feb. 14, and NAU sat ninth in the West Region.
The top 12 head to Boise, Idaho, the weekend of Feb. 27-29 where two teams will punch their ticket to the ACHA National Tournament in Dallas.
“This is a position we haven’t faced in four years after having an auto-bid the past three years,” NAU head coach Travis Johanson said. “We are going to push the team to be prepared for regionals, as they are going to be pushing each other in practice. We are our best competition. I believe we are in a good place now as a team, re-adjusting after losing some key guys at the half and a couple other guys with season-ending injuries.
“The past four games we have played are showing that.”
Injuries have certainly hindered the NAU season.
“Some of the worst we have ever seen,” said NAU assistant coach Kris Walsh. “We’ve had three guys go down with career-ending should injuries, another clavicle break, a high ankle sprain, and several concussions, but this group has really come together and is constantly improving.”
Walsh added that even facing adversity, there have been several players who have stepped up to fill a void in the roster. Lucas Lomax, Alex Shupe and Reise Kieffer graduated in December and two more (Evan Shupe and Rayce Miller) were honored Feb. 8.
“These guys combined have played over 400 games in blue and gold, so losing their contributions will be missed,” Walsh said.
The IceJacks will be at Jay Lively Arena Feb. 22 at 8 p.m., hosting the Arizona Coyotes Alumni Team. NAU alum Greg Adams will also be in attendance.
— Matt Mackinder
(Feb. 20, 2020)