Dordt College Blades Hockey vs. Northern Arizona
March 7, 2009
(ESL Sports Centre, Rochester, New York) The Blades close out their 2008-2009 season with a dramatic 2-1 shoot-out victory over Northern Arizona to secure the fifth place ranking in the ACHA Division 3 National Tournament in Rochester, NY. Dordt started the ACHA tournament with a tough shoot-out loss to Fredonia State, knocking them out of medal contention but finish the tournament on a high note winning the final three games of the tournament and cap it with the heart-pumping shoot-out finale over NAU. The Blades close the season with an impressive 24-4-1-2 record.
Northern Arizona and Dordt did battle on paper throughout the entire season as NAU held the number 1 ranking in the Pacific Region all year long, while Dordt held second place and could never wrestle the top spot away from the Ice Jacks. The teams never had opportunity to meet during the regular season even though they are in the same region and as circumstance would have it, it would take a trip to Rochester, NY for each squad to enable the teams to duel for the top spot on the ice.
The teams played back and forth hockey in the first period and neither team managed to find the back of the net including two missed power play opportunities for each team. Second team All-Pacific region forward, Nate Woudstra, got the Blades on the board first when he went in alone on the NAU netminder and beat the Ice Jacks goalie with 11:49 to go in the second.
The Ice Jacks were unable to get one back in the second but Pacific Region first teamer, Dillon Shaffer, tied the game for NAU during a 4 on 4 session to knot the game with 8:54 to go in the third. Both teams had numerous scoring chances over the final 9 minutes of regulation and 5 minutes of over time but neither could tally the game winner so for the second time in the 4 game tournament Dordt would head back to a shoot-out.
NAU would go first in the shut-out and Buckovich, who had assisted on the earlier goal by Shaffer was stopped nicely by Gibbons for Dordt. Nate Woudstra's attempt would find the right pad of netminder Williams for the save. NAU's Sounheim would tally to give the Ice Jacks the 1 up lead while Kevin Prins would also find the right pad of Williams to give NAU the 1-0 lead. Shaffer would go next for NAU and he was unable to get a good shot off giving Dordt's next skater a chance to tie. Todd Bakker would do just that when he put a laser of a shot into the bottom left of the NAU goal. Ellis would be up next for NAU and his attempt was stopped with a sweet pad save by Gibbons. Rempel would then go tuck a beauty into the top right to beat Williams and give Dordt the 2-1 lead. Ingram would answer the call for the Ice Jacks as he tied the score going top right on Dordt. Janz was unable to win it for Dordt when his attempt rung off the right post. As was the case in Dordt't first shoot-out against Fredonia it would take extra shooters to determine a winner. NAU's Farnham missed his attempt to beat Gibbons giving Dordt senior Joel Sikkema the chance to be the hero. Sikkema skated in and beat Williams top shelf on the left side to get the exhilarating victory for the Dordt players and fans.
"We have great guys on this team, in spite of how short we are in the depth chart our guys kept pushing through pain and fatigue and showed just how much character they have," said van Niejenhuis. "I will definitely miss all the seniors on this team, not so much because of how good they are as hockey players but because they are such wonderful young people and solid citizens. They give a lot of their time for the community and are good representatives of Dordt College."
Dordt's Jared Rempel garnered additional honors as he was named to the ACHA Division 3 All-Tournament second team.
In addition to Brian Havinga (Calgary, Alberta), who graduated at the semester break, Dordt will graduate seven more seniors from their roster, they are:
Matt Chesla--Lino Lakes, Minnesota
Kurtis Heerema--Thunder Bay, Ontario
Kevin Prins--Foremost, Alberta
Jared Rempel--Chilliwack, British Columbia
Joel Sikkema--Ridgetown, Ontario
Jon Van Keulen--Surrey, British Columbia
Brad Westervelt--Winnepeg, Manitoba
1. DC 2nd 11:49 Woudstra from Bakker and Esselink
2. NAU 3rd 8:54 Shaffer from Buckovich
NAU Buckovich Saved by Gibbons 0-0
DC Woudstra Saved by Williams 0-0
NAU Sounheim Scores 0-1
DC Prins Saved by Williams 0-1
NAU Shaffer Misses 0-1
DC Bakker Scores 1-1
NAU Ellis Saved by Gibbons 1-1
DC Rempel Scores 2-1
NAU Ingram Scores 2-2
DC Janz Misses 2-2
NAU Farnham Misses 2-2
DC Sikkema Scores (Dordt wins shoot-out 3-2)
In the gold medal game Saginaw Valley State beat last year's winner Florida Gulf Coast 3-2.
Nate Woudstra finishes the season as the Blades top scorer with 77 points coming on 45 goals and 32 assists. Bakker was a close second with 76 points, 32 goals and 44 assists. Rounding out the top 3 is Kevin Prins who finished the year with 25 goals and 35 assists for 60 points.
Dordt's Current Record: 24-4-1-2 (10-0-0-0)
Opponent's Current Record: 0-0-0 (0-0-0)
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For more information, please contact Mike Byker, Sports Information Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (712) 722-6301.