IceJacks’ D-III team has slow start, but now turning things around
Ryan Smith began the season with high expectations for his Northern Arizona University ACHA Division III team.
And even after a slow start that has turned to the winning side of things, Smith still has achievable goals in mind for the IceJacks.
Our team has the expectations of returning to regionals with our minds set on moving from regionals to the national tournament,” said Smith. “We had a very slow start to the season combined with several losses we feel we should not have lost. Over the past few weeks, we have turned things around in our locker room, and that has resulted in wins and ties, but not losses.
“We are now on the right path forward and have excitement towards the upcoming games.”
Smith noted that there have been several team highlights and positives to this point in the season.
“The biggest positive so far is a mental change in the locker room where we are dedicated to perform and work harder for one another,” said Smith. “The biggest highlight we have had was an overtime win against the University of New Mexico, a team we haven’t beaten in three years.”
With a deep team, Smith said a handful of key players has emerged as impact performers early in the season.
“Adam Groendyke, Reed Harbison and Jacob Paul have all stepped up for us,” Smith said. “Jacob is a freshman on the team and came to us from Vegas high school hockey as a goalie. He has proven himself to earn the spot as the go-to goalie. His play has been a major part of the team’s recent success.”
Smith wants that success to continue for the foreseeable future.
“With the current momentum our team is carrying, I am currently expecting us to become an over-.500 team within the remaining games of this semester,” said Smith.
— Matt Mackinder
(Dec. 3, 2018)