Ice Hawks front feature 3-28
By Ben Pherson
MARLBOROUGH, Mass. — Ryan Goodmanson played in a state hockey tournament as a senior at Eau Claire (Wis.) North High School.
But he said that experience didn’t compare to the one he enjoyed this week at the Junior A, Tier III national championships.
"This is way more memorable," said Goodmanson, who is a second-year member of the Minnesota Ice Hawks. "It’s a national event, plus you’re more connected with your teammates. You live with them, you practice with them. This is something I’ll never forget."
At the same time, this wasn’t how Goodmanson envisioned the season ending for the Ice Hawks — with a 4-1 loss to the Northern Cyclones on Thursday in pool play.
The loss knocked the Ice Hawks out of the national tournament.
Goodmanson, along with many of his teammates and coaches, was in tears after the loss.
"It’s emotional, because it’s your family," Goodmanson said. "You get really close."
Despite the loss, there is a silver lining for Ice Hawks fans and coaches — they may get their best player back next season.
Goodmanson, who led the Minnesota Junior Hockey League in scoring, was an all-league first-team selection and was named the league’s overall and offensive player of the year, has one year of junior hockey eligibility remaining.
A month ago, Goodmanson considered accepting one of the many Division III offers he had received.
But Goodmanson has had a change of heart in the past few weeks.
He said he’d still like to move up to Tier I or Tier II junior team if the opportunity presents itself, but he wouldn’t mind being back in Rochester next season.
"This is a great place to play," Goodmanson said. "I feel like I’ve progressed here, especially from a maturity standpoint. I thought about it, and I just decided I should keep playing juniors as long as I can and see what happens. I wouldn’t mind playing here another year."
Goodmanson is still chasing his dream of Division I hockey. But he’s accepted that Division III has good hockey, too. "D-III is fine; I just want to be able to play hockey in college. Division I would be a dream, but D-III would be great, too," Goodmanson said.
Hearing Goodmanson may come back to play for the Ice Hawks was music to coach Nick Fatis’ ears.
"He’s everything you hope for in a player and a person," Fatis said. "He’s always got a smile on his face, and he does everything you ask of him. He’s a great kid and a great hockey player. I hope that Division I opportunity comes for him, because I think he could play at that level."