After a down season last year, St. Scholastica has bounced back in a big way. Currently ranked No. 13 in the USCHO.com poll, St. Scholastica is in second place in the NCHA, just one point behind No. 6 St. Norbert.
St. Scholastica went 9-17-1 in the 2010-2011 campaign, after five seasons of double digit wins and an appearance in the NCAA tournament in 2009. The team has already surpassed last year’s record with 12 wins so far this season.
For its last home games of this season, St. Scholastica has another big test, as it hosts Wisconsin-Stevens Point on Friday and then faces St. Norbert on Saturday, with the NCHA lead on the line.
“The big thing is the position in the standings and gaining enough home ice as possible,” coach Mark Wick said. “All games are important in the league”.
The two teams split in the first series earlier this season. St. Scholastica snapped St. Norbert’s 27-game home unbeaten streak with a 3-2 win on December 9. St. Scholastica was also the last team to beat St. Norbert at home in 2009. St. Scholastica posted a victory and a tie against Wis.-Stevens Point when they played a few weekends ago.
St. Scholastica has a seven-game unbeaten streak while moving up in the poll, and has victories over teams ranked higher. St. Norbert was ranked No. 5 in December when St. Scholastica played there, and then swept Wis.-River Falls a few weeks ago when it was ranked No. 4, but that does not matter to Wick when discussing the intensity of NCHA season.
“Right now, six of the seven teams are in a position for home ice in the playoffs, or even the NCHA title,” Wick said.
As a team, St. Scholastica has the No. 15 offense in Division III, averaging 3.86 goals a game. Defensively, it gives up only 2.81 goals a game. The special teams have been sharp this season too. The power-play unit has just under a 30 percent success rate, while the penalty kill has been effective 86.2 percent of the time.
“We have good team speed and can use that to our advantage, but at the same time we have to play defense and not get into an up-and-down race at the rink,” Wick said.
At the beginning of the season, Wick did not have to express to the team any concerns about last season’s results.
“We couldn’t put things together last year,” Wick said. “We had rough times and the team took pride and put it upon themselves to make a difference this season.”
Key players have rebounded for St. Scholastica this season, after injuries helped derail the success St. Scholastica had in previous season.
“Jeremy Dawes had a broken leg last year, and he’s come back for an outstanding senior year,” Wick said. “Brett Corcoran had a broken finger that affected his play as well.”
At this point of the season, Corcoran leads St. Scholastica and the NCHA in scoring with 15 goals and 29 points. Dawes is second on the team with 10 goals and 23 points.
Wick also credits players like seniors Carter Davis and Austin Brown, along with junior Tyler Miller. Miller leads the team in assists with 15 and is third in scoring with 22 points, while Davis has 21 points and two game-winning goals. Brown has 18 points and is a plus-6 on the season.
“In this league, the juniors and seniors provide the scoring and the leadership,” Wick said.
Sophomore Colin Rundell has seen a bulk of the action in goal this year. He has 2.68 goals-against average and a .905 save percentage.
It is Cancer Awareness Weekend at St. Scholastica. The team will be seeking donations during both games at Mars-Lakeview Arena, and profits will go to the American Cancer Society.
Player of the Week: Jordan Keizer, Jr., Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE). Keizer scored three goals and had two assists in MSOE’s series against Adrian.
Defensive Player of the Week: Brendan Sullivan, Jr., Lake Forest. Sullivan went 2-0 against Concordia (Wis.) last weekend. In his first action of the season, Sullivan stopped 27 of 29 shots on Friday in Lake Forests’ 6-2 win. He made 18 more saves on Saturday for the sweep.
Freshman of the Week: Peter Emery, Lawrence. Emery had a pair of wins against Northland, including a Friday night shutout. He made 29 saves for his second collegiate shutout. On Saturday, Emery made 29 more saves in a 3-2 victory.
Athlete of the Week: Trevor Doden, Sr., Augsburg. In a weekend series against St. Mary’s, Doden scored four of Augsburg’s eight goals. He recorded his first collegiate hat trick on Saturday, including the game-winning goal in overtime. Doden added a goal Friday.
Player of the Week: Joe Perry, So., St. Norbert. Perry scored three goals last weekend for St. Norbert. He scored the first goal in an overtime loss to Wisconsin-River Falls on Friday. Perry added two more goals, including the game-winner, Saturday in a 5-4 victory over Wisconsin-Eau Claire.