By Amber Robinson
Just last month the Jimmies Men Ice Hockey team wrapped up its season for the year. The team had a great year filled with lots of ups and downs.
The team’s first challenge was getting a new coach, which was an adjustment for all parties involved. There was a large transition phase that was expected. Newly hired head coach Cole Bell, from Davenport, Iowa, was experiencing his first time as a bench boss.
"We definitely had an interesting start to our season with having Coach Dean leave and then obtaining our new head coach Cole Bell," said Tyson Brouwer, UJ MVP goaltender.
At the end of the first semester the Jimmies sat with a 9-12 record. which did not meet expectations. However, regardless of how stressful the team’s season began it eventually picked up in a direction the whole team was proud of.
"After Christmas break we managed to pull off an impressive winning streak," said Jason Richter, alternate captain.
The UJ hockey team rattled off 14 straight wins after Christmas break to solidify their bid into the ACHA National Championship Tournament.
They entered the tournament as the 12th seed out of 20 teams, but very arguably could have been ranked higher after their explosive second semester play on the ice. Jimmie hockey entered the tournament with their confidence at an all-time high and a shot at winning nationals. The team traveled to the host city Columbus, Ohio, over spring break for the tournament. They played University of Illinois in a single-game knockout. The team had very high expectations of themselves going into the game as they had previously swept University of Illinois earlier in the season.
They unfortunately took a hard loss with the final score being 3-1. Illinois scored two shorthanded goals in the final frame to defeat the Jimmies.
"Of course it was a disappointing loss at nationals,” Richter said. “That being said winning nationals is still our ultimate goal.”
Overall, as heartbreaking as this loss was and is for the team, many players are still trying to see the positives of this past season.
"There were a lot of guys who stepped up and were big contributors this year and even though it's not the result we wanted, I think we learned a lot this year,” Brouwer said. “We know for sure we can play at that level and have what it will takes to get us back to nationals.”
Lastly, Jamestown's captain, Cole Sonstebo, had this to say to the team’s supporters throughout the season:
"We all want to say thanks to the fans, the students and the community that surrounds us,” he said. “Without them being involved we wouldn't have the program we do today. We are grateful for each and every one that contributed to our success and our team. Your support will always be known and appreciated more than words can describe, again thank you."
The ACHA National Tournament will be held in Dallas, Texas, in 2019 and we hope to see our team making the trip south come next March.