Arizona Rubber

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IceJacks’ D-II team opens new season with new faces, optimism

 

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College hockey continues to grow in Flagstaff.

The Northern Arizona University ACHA program, which fields teams at the Division II and Division III levels, has been gaining steam – and substantial interest from players – over the past few years.

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That was clearly evident as the IceJacks held tryouts at the end of the summer for the 2019-20 season, a season that kicked off Sept. 13-14 against Arizona State University with a 5-2 win the first night and then a 2-1 loss the next day, despite outshooting the Sun Devils 52-30.

“We had a really strong turnout for our tryouts this year,” said NAU Division II head coach Travis Johanson. “I believe we added lots of depth that will make us a tough team to play against. We also picked up 13 new players on our D-II team, and I think it will be a good mixture of returning players that we expect to mix in well with the new incoming players. The chemistry so far is great, and we’ll see how that progresses throughout the season.

“I feel that our split was ASU isn’t a bad thing as we only had two practices as a team going into that series. Once we get into our routine and iron out a few kinks, I expect us to have even more success as a team. We feel good where we’re at right now, though.”

New behind the bench this season is former Northern Arizona standout forward and Arizona native Max Mahood, who was hired in the offseason as an assistant coach.

“Max had a tremendous career at NAU and will bring a lot of knowledge to the team,” said Johanson.

— Matt Mackinder

(Sept. 24, 2019)