The Wisconsin-River Falls Falcons completed their sweep of St. Scholastica and Wisconsin-Superior, edging further ahead in the NCHA standings. Wisconsin-Stout also swept, beating Wisconsin-Superior and St. Scholastica to move into a three-way tie for third place in the NCHA.
This week, the NCHA action takes a break from league play to match up with the MIAC.
Wisconsin-River Falls: The Falcons started early on Friday night, scoring three goals in the first period against St. Scholastica. Shane Fukushima, Jeff Bernard and Matt Elsen scored in the first, while Jess Johnson and Elsen tallied in the second and Jared Anderson finished it out. Saturday was much the same against Wisconsin-Superior. The Falcons scored the only goal in the first period (Fukishima) then exploded for four in the second by Evan Stensrud (2), Fukushima and Johnson. Anderson added the lone tally in the third to stake the Falcons to a 6-1 NCHA victory. On Friday, goalie Kris Unise won his first college game, making 15 saves, and on Saturday, Jacque Vezina returned from an injury to make 26 saves in the win.
This week, the Falcons take on St. Mary’s and St. Thomas in nonconference action.
St. Norbert: The Green Knights were one of three teams to sweep this week, beating Wisconsin-Stevens Point in a nonconference game on Friday and Wisconsin-Eau Claire in OT on Saturday. Friday, the Knights got out to an early 1-0 lead on the Pointers and slowly edged away the rest of the night. The Knights picked up goals from Maris Ziedins, Adam Sedgwick, Patrick Gruber and Lennie Rampone, who added an empty-net goal late in the third period. Saturday, the Knights trailed Wisconsin-Eau Claire three times before pulling out the OT win. Goals for the Knights came from Gruber (2), Rampone, Marc Collins and Shane Dickson, who scored the winner halfway through overtime. Chancy Colquhoun made 32 saves in the victory on Friday, and 15 in the OT win on Saturday.
This week the Green Knights host MIAC foes St. Olaf and Gustavus Adolphus.
Wisconsin-Stout: The Blue Devils swept their NCHA weekend with a win over Wisconsin-Superior on Friday night and one versus St. Scholastica Saturday. The two wins put the Devils in a three-way tie for third place in the NCHA, along with Wisconsin-Stevens Point and Lake Forest. Friday, the Devils took the lead in the second on the first of two goals, on the night, from Andy Anderson. He added the game winner just :56 after Superior tied the game at one. Saturday, Wisconsin-Stout trailed early in the first but answered with three goals to finish out the period, thanks to Cullen Flaherty, Steve Savre and Nathan Legler. Third-period scoring came from Riffe as he picked up two, giving the Devils a 5-4 victory.
This week the Blue Devils take on St. Thomas and St. Mary’s on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
Lake Forest: The Foresters, coming off a huge upset of St. Norbert the week before, kept the roll going with a win on Friday night over Wisconsin-Eau Claire, but then saw their home winning streak end at the hands of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Friday, the Foresters dominated the early going, outshooting the Blugolds 27-16 in the first two periods, but faced a 1-1 tie heading into the third period. The lone Forester goal came from Frankie DeMasi in the second period. The third, was all Foresters, despite being outshot 11-7. The Foresters scored three times in the final stanza (Tom Dutton, Dan Holmes and Mark Grumetza). Saturday, Lake Forest played the Pointers tough, pushing them to overtime. Lake Forest trailed early, but Bruce Mutch tied up the game in the first. Bill Boyes put the Foresters in front for the first time in the second, only to see the Pointers score two unanswered goals to finish out the second period scoring. The third period’s only tally came from DeMasi, who was able to beat Pointer goaltender Bob Gould to tie the game and send it to overtime. The Pointers scored just :21 into the extra period to end the Foresters nine-game home winning streak.
Lake Forest is also at him this weekend, welcoming Gustavus Adolphus and St. Olaf to Alumni Arena.
Wisconsin-Stevens Point: The Pointers split on the weekend, dropping the nonconference test with St. Norbert on Friday, but picking up the NCHA win at Lake Forest. Friday night, the Pointers trailed early and watched the Green Knights edge away from then on. The lone Pointer tally came on the power play in the second period off the stick of Zenon Kochan. On Saturday, the Pointers got out early on a goal by Kochan only to see their lead erased by the Foresters. Wisconsin-Stevens Point trailed momentarily in the second period, but responded with two power-play goals by Kochan and Joel Marshall. The lone goal in the third period came from the Foresters, sending the game into overtime. The hero of the night was Ryan Maxson, who took a long pass from Randy Enders, and scored just :21 into the overtime period.
The Pointers host Concordia-Moorehead and St. John’s this weekend at the K.B. Willett Arena.
Wisconsin-Eau Claire: The Blugolds were swept this past weekend, but they certainly made things interesting in the process. Friday night, the Blugolds dropped a tough one to the Foresters but the play of Ian Sgambelluri made things a little more palatable. Sgambelluri, coming of his hat-trick versus Wisconsin-Stevens Point, scored the first goal of the game, but that would be the only goal on the night for Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Saturday, would be an interesting night. With the win over Wisconsin-Stevens Point still fresh in their minds, the Blugolds set out to upset their second NCHA power in as many weeks. The Blugolds got out to an early lead in the first period on a goal from Bryan Chambers, taking that 1-0 to the locker room. St. Norbert would respond, but the Blugolds stuck to their guns with back-to-back goals from Jamie Minor, taking a 3-1 lead into the third period. St. Norbert scored three goals in the third period, but a tally from Mike Lucenti sent the game into overtime only to lose the contest 2:23 into OT.
The Blugolds host MIAC rivals St. John’s and Concordia-Moorehead this weekend.
St. Scholastica: The Saints dropped a pair of NCHA games this weekend and are still looking for their first conference win of the season. Friday night, St. Scholastica dropped a 6-1 decision to Wisconsin-River Falls with the sole Saint goal going to Josh Oyler in the first. On Saturday, the Saints pushed Wisconsin-Stout, but couldn’t pull of the win, losing 5-4. Scoring for the Saints: Oyler (2), Jeff Hall, and Nick Dolentz.
The Saints take on current MIAC leader Bethel on Friday and perennial power Augsburg on Saturday.
Wisconsin-Superior: Following their sweep of Elmira last week and their dominating performance over Marian two weeks ago, the Yellow Jackets may be suffering a bit of a letdown. Friday night, the Jackets dropped a 2-1 decision to Wisconsin-Stout; despite outshooting the Blue Devils almost 3-1, the only Jacket to bulge the twine was Jeff Glowa. Saturday brought no relief for the Jackets, who lost to Wisconsin-River Falls 5-2. The Jackets’ scoring came from Kris Wilson and Cameron Van Sandt.
With the Jackets’ struggles in the NCHA, this break from NCHA competition comes as a blessing. Wisconsin-Superior hosts Bethel and Augsburg this Friday and Saturday.
Game of the Week
This week, the NCHA and MIAC match up their schedules to do the interleague thing. No, this isn’t the Mets going cross town to play the Yankees in baseball, this is Minnesota coming to Wisconsin to settle who the Best in the West really is.
There are quite a few games that could play into early-season poll positioning. Wisconsin-Stevens Point hosts Concordia, St. Norbert plays Gustavus and Wisconsin-Superior plays host to both Bethel and Augsburg. However, the game to watch is the Wisconsin-River Falls vs. St. Thomas matchup. St. Thomas was picked as the No. 1 team in the MIAC preseason coaches poll and Wisconsin-River Falls currently sits atop the NCHA. St. Thomas limped through its opening weekend of action in the MIAC, dropping three of four possible points to St. John’s, while Wisconsin-River Falls remains unbeaten on the season with a record of 6-0-1.