Ice Jacks win streak snapped at seven
Thursday night, No. 2 ranked Colorado State (CSU) ended the Division II Ice Jacks seven-game win streak, beating NAU 8–2. NAU suffered another loss the following Saturday, falling to the No. 4 Colorado (UC) Buffaloes 5–4. The Jacks lost back-to-back games for the first time since the start of the season when they were beaten two nights in a row by ASU’s D-I team.
In a game played on neutral ice in Tempe, the Jacks lost a hard-fought game that ended with the Buffaloes celebrating in overtime. Sophomore defenseman Liam Ayoub scored his first goal of the season to tie the game, but the Buffaloes regained the lead with just over two minutes to play in the first and entered the second period up 2–1.
The second period was fast and physical, but neither team was able to find the back of the net sending the game into the third period still 2–1 in favor of UC.
In the final stanza, both teams matched each other shot for shot, check for check, and pass for pass as each club fought hard. With two minutes and 30 seconds remaining in the game, the NAU coaching staff called a timeout to rest their top line players for one last offensive push in an attempt to knot it up. The Jacks pulled junior goalie Quinn Mason to put the extra attacker on, and with only 16 ticks left, junior forward Taylor Dustin netted the equalizer with a hard wrist shot to the top-right corner.
“I buried my head, took my shot, and got lucky,” Dustin said with a half smile on his face after the game. “We fought hard to battle back and tie the game, I’m proud of my teammates.”
In the first minute of overtime, the Jacks took two costly penalties giving the Buffaloes a 5-on-3 advantage, which NAU killed off. But with just over a minute to go in the overtime, UC’s Brennan Stieneker found the back of the net with a backhander to give his club the win.
Mason wound up stopping 37 of UC’s 40 shots including making a huge save on a penalty shot in the second period. Sophomore forward Ryan Greenspan extended his point streak to nine games with an assist in the first period.
“We played hard for a full 60 minutes, we just had a few mental relapses,” said senior defenseman Rob Brown, serving as the team’s interim captain due to senior forward Tucker Braund’s injury. “Overall we played a great game and stayed positive on the bench the entire time”
Thursday night, the Rams showed NAU exactly why they are ranked No. 2. The Jacks hurt themselves with turnovers in their own zone that led to many of CSU’s goals. NAU had chances to score, but could not finish off most of their plays, going 0-for-7 on the power play and were kept off the board for the first two periods of play. Junior forward Zach Vachris returned to the lineup for the Jacks against CSU after being held out of practice due to a sore shoulder, scoring a goal in the third period while Greenspan added to his team-leading 15 goals also scoring in the final period. Sophomore goaltender James Korte stopped 27 shots.
“We had scoring chances we just didn’t capitalize on them,” said first year assistant coach Colin Hughes. “Our weakness of the game was in the defensive zone, we had lots of turnovers. But they’re ranked No. 2 for a reason and I’m looking forward to playing them again.”