NAU Ice Jacks completely dominated against the GCU in this hockey game. Nau came into this game with a 15-10-1 record, while GCU had a 3-21 record. They previously faced off in a game on February 7, in that game NAU also dominated and won 12-1. This game they faced off at Jay Lively Stadium in Flagstaff.
In this game, NAU started out fast and early, scoring 3 goals in the first 12 minutes. The first goal came off the stick of Joseph McNamara with 18 minutes left in the period. Then with 14 minutes left in the first, Ashton Donavon got the puck and shot from the just in front of the goal and got through the diving save attempt from Bobby Lucas to put the ice jacks up 2-0. After that the Ice jacks were still firing but unable to connect until, with 8:50 left in the period Cole Tiedemann was able to get free and take a shot just left of the goal and sent it past the goalie, Bobby Lucas, to the back of the net. After this goal GCU decided to take their goalie Bobby Lucas out of the game and replace him with Gabe Lepper who had started the night before.
Throughout the rest of this period the Ice Jacks were able to keep control of the puck and allowed very few opportunities for the Lopes. Then with 3 minutes left in the period, Dimitri Thorsen took a shot from just inside GCU’s territory and before it got to the goal, Ashton Donavon deflected it for NAU deflected it and the puck went just pass the outstretch glove of Gabe Lepper. There were no more scores in the first period, the score at the end of the first was 4-0 NAU.
To start out the second period, GCU looked good. GCU was able to be aggressive in the first two minutes but were not able to get any goals out of it. With 16 minutes left in the second, Dane Austin as able to find himself just in front of the net, got the pass and sent the puck to the back of the net. NAU took 5-0 lead and it was obvious, GCU was deflated. NAU kept pouring it on with two more goals in the period, one by NAU’s leader in points, Malachi Bushey, and the other by Tucker Honing. With 8 seconds left in the half there was a penalty committed by a GCU player that gave NAU a powerplay heading into the third. The second period ended with NAU being up 7-0
NAU had a powerplay opportunity to start the third period and were looking to take advantage of GCU’s below average penalty kill defense. NAU had a few good opportunities but were not able to capitalize until there was 30 seconds left in the powerplay.
Malachi Bushey was able to get his second goal of the night by sending the puck right on the rebound. GCU was able to get a good opportunity a few moments after this, when Ethan Prater had a breakaway chance and took a shot that seemed almost sure to go in, but Taz Joplin was just barely able to get there in time to save the puck form going in.
After that, just like in the entire game, GCU was not able to connect well on passes or be able to keep the puck out of their own territory. With eight minutes left in the game, Malachi Bushey was able to secure a hat trick with getting his third goal of the night. Right after Bushey scored, Teddy Havener for GCU was obviously frustrated and got a penalty giving NAU another powerplay. However, NAU was not able to capitalize and GCU successfully killed the penalty. GCU had another opportunity with 3 minutes left took a shot on goal but Taz Joplin was there again with a great diving save. Teddy Havener got another penalty with 2;25 remaining in the period. However, GCU was also able to kill that penalty. The Final score finished with NAU beating GCU 9-0.
This game was a special game for the ice jacks, not just because they blew GCU out, but because it was their senior night. NAU had two seniors, Rayce Miller and Evan Shupe. There was a little ceremony for them before the game. They both checked in for the last time as Ice Jacks with a little less than a minute left. The crowed all applauded and cheered for the two of them as they both had their last moments playing at Jay Lively Ice Arena.