Here’s what Northern Collegiate Hockey Association coaches have on their holiday wish list.
On Wisconsin-Eau Claire stationary:
Dear Santa, Matt Loen here,
My wish list isn’t very long this year. We’re 11-2-1, currently in first place in the NCHA, and ranked third in the latest USCHO.com D-III poll. I couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season. Although, falling 2-1 to Wisconsin-River Falls was a bit of a drag.
Of course, we were optimistic heading into this season. We felt like we had a dangerous team and could climb the ladder, both in our very tough conference and nationally. We have Isaiah Bennis and Jordan Singer, two of the top goal-scorers, along with Mark Pustin and Jack Callahan dishing out assists just about every game.
My biggest wish is for us to be playing this well in March. We have several outstanding players who deserve a shot at the national title, Santa. St. Norbert’s still the team to beat, but they’ve had their fun. Besides, they’re leaving the NCHA anyway. Stay loyal to the conference, Santa. Honor a team that’s sticking around with a title in March.
On St. Norbert stationary:
Hey, Santa, it’s Tim Coghlin,
Well, it’s obvious what I’m asking for this holiday season: a chance to three-peat for the D-III national championship.
Don’t get me wrong; I don’t want to come off as greedy. I relished the past two national titles and my first one a few years ago. You can’t take those accomplishments for granted, but once you climb to the top of the mountain, you have no desire to come down.
I think we’re in pretty decent shape to return to the national title game, but those darn Blugolds from Eau Claire stand in our way. We didn’t do too well against them in our first meeting. Speaking of wishes, how about a win over the Blugolds on Jan. 25? This is our last year in the NCHA, and we have to go out with a bang, Santa. How about we take another conference title before splitting?
Oh, and that Norwich squad … they haven’t lost a game yet this season and are No. 1 in the country. We don’t play them during the regular season, but we’ve been good little Green Knights, so maybe we could play them in the final game of the season? We already have David Jacobson, the nation’s top goalie, and Kyle Stroh, who leads the NCHA with 23 points. We just need a little boost the rest of the way and we’ll be fine, Santa.
On Wisconsin-Superior stationary:
Santa, coach Stauber here,
We’ve had a great start, so I can’t bug you too much. We’re 9-3-1 and third in the NCHA, with a 5-2-1 record. We just moved up to 10th in the latest USCHO.com D-III poll.
However, I feel we have a special group of players this year. We deserve a shot at the NCHA title. I know Christmas is less than two weeks away, but could you grant my wish for the middle of January? We play both Wis.-Eau Claire and St. Norbert in back-to-back series. A split would be nice, but if you could grant a sweep, I’ll be your best friend, Santa.
I think we’re capable of pulling it off. Pat Dalbec has been awesome for us all season. He’s tallied at least one point in all 13 of our games! He’s a scrappy forward, and should be rewarded with a conference title.
Defenseman Jeff Forsythe and goalie Drew Strandberg have been solid complements to Dalbec, but we’re probably going to need additional help to leapfrog St. Norbert and Wis.-Eau Claire for the NCHA title.
On Wisconsin-Stevens Point stationary:
How’s it going Santa? It’s Chris Brooks,
We’ve had an up-and-down season. Last I checked, we were 7-5-1 and 4-5-1 in the NCHA and in fourth place.
But there’s still time to turn our fortunes around and have a strong second half. Of course, we could use a little help, Santa.
We’ve been competitive in most of our games, going 2-1-1 in overtime contests. If we could just get some more offense, we could make a push in the second half of the season. Johnny Meo (seven goals) and Kyle Heck (two game-winners) have stepped up, but we need a little more punch, Santa.
We have solid goaltending, so if we can just put it all together in the second half, we could move up a couple of spots in the NCHA.
On Wisconsin-Stout stationary:
Hey, Santa, Terry Watkins here,
Well, after starting the season 0-2-2, we’ve righted the ship, going 6-3, including wins over ranked teams like St. Thomas and Wis.-Superior.
Our schedule in the second half won’t be easy, having to play St. Norbert three times and Wis.-Eau Claire once. Could we please come out with three wins through those four games, Santa? Come on, I’m not even being greedy!
We have a long holiday break, so we should be rested and ready to go. Oh, I do have to thank you for goalie Nick Hopper. What a nice early Christmas present! Nick has been one of the steadiest netminders in the NCHA. Hopefully, he can continue his success in the second half.
On Wis.-River Falls stationary:
Hi Santa, it’s Steve Freeman,
Well, it looks like we received our Christmas gift a couple weeks early, upsetting third-ranked Wis.-Eau Claire, 2-1, on Dec. 8. That was great, but I was hoping for a few more gifts to help us in the second half.
We started out 4-0, cruising past nonconference foes, but have just one win in NCHA play. All I ask for is that we pick up a few NCHA wins in the second half of the season. It would salvage our season, somewhat.
We have an easier schedule in January, so I think we can do it, Santa.
On St. Scholastica stationary:
Santa, it’s coach Wick,
As if the winters in Duluth weren’t brutal enough, our 1-7-0 conference mark has us at the bottom of the NCHA. Santa, you could make the long, cold, snowy winter up here more enjoyable by sending us a few wins in the second half.
I can’t understand it, Santa. We looked good in our season opener, knocking off Wis.-Superior, 5-1. However, since then, our only two wins have come against Lawrence and Marian.
I do have to thank you for delivering freshman Brenden Kotyk to us. He’s already one of the top five scoring defenseman in the NCHA! Hopefully, he can continue to blossom in January and February.