Hockey hopes dead, rival suffers

Michael Gill

Michael Gill

Going into a weekend with one’s fiercest, bloodiest rivals a coach may always be hesitant about delivering bad news. A coach never can guess how a team will take it. But on Friday night the team received news that their national tournament berth was dead.

On Saturday the Jacks unleashed on rival Dordt a 6-1 embarrassment that saw Dordt, ranked #17 in the region of the ACHA national standings, only getting off 12 shots all game as they were being man-handled by the Jackrabbit club.

Friday night’s game was postponed due to weather.

Dispelling any fears coach Marty Schipull would have about his team’s desire to play after the news, the Jacks struck hard and fast. Less than three minutes into the game Andy Schuster broke the seal with a goal assisted by Wes Dugstad. Dordt didn’t take long in trying to return the tempo to an even pace with a goal at the 14:20 mark on an un-assisted goal by Travis Woudstra. For Dordt the goal would be only one of four shots that they could squeeze off in the period.

With the scoreboard evened up, the Jacks once again took it out on their rivals. At the 11:48 Justin Riemer put in an un-assisted goal to regain the lead. Two minutes later Bill Schneider would add to the lead with a goal at the 8:04 mark assisted by Luke Tegels. Already up at that 3-1 after Schneider’s goal, the Jack’s showed Dordt no mercy with another goal to end the period 4-1 when Bill deBlonk scored un-assisted.

With Dordt down from their dismal first period, the Jacks came out of the locker rooms still looking for something to prove. Maintaing the same pace from before, the Jacks would outshoot Dordt 14-4 again, but improved play by the goalies saw the Jacks only adding two goals by Shaun Laird to their comfortable lead. The first for Laird came at the 13:44 mark assisted by Schuster and Tom Foerster, the second almost eight minutes later was un-assisted. Also for the Jacks, Ryan Taylor was ejected in the second for fighting with Richard Veurink.

Dordt goalie Matt Tinsley retained his impressive play stopping all shots as the Jacks continued to pepper him with 12 shots on the period. Throughout the third the Jack overall defensive play held tight as the Jacks again only allowed Dordt to get four shots off on Jack goalie Heath Isaacson. At the final buzzer the Jacks had outshot rival Dordt 40-12 and kept their heads in the game throughout only tallying eight penalty minutes on four penalties.

With Saturday added to the win column, the Jacks have retained a firm grip on receiving a possible #1 seed in their upcoming GPHCA tourney in Brookings Feb. 28 through Mar. 1. The national tournament now out of the picture a #1 seeding could be of some consolation for the Jacks. As in most college athletics, the Jacks were victims in the voting process of the ACHA tournament. Friday the Jacks had found out the in the new ACHA rankings they had dropped from #3 to #4, only the top three teams in the region are invited to the national tournament.

“The players understandably were pretty upset. But I told them two things: A, there are still five games left, and B, we still have a pretty nice trophy to shoot for. So we still get to play for our own,” said Schipull.

Next up the Jacks will head away to play Minnesota State University-Mankota for their final two games of the season. Game times are scheduled for 10:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights. in the upcoming series the Jacks will still be contending for the #1 seed in the GPCHA conference tourney to be held in Brookings the weekend after.