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Weekend wrap: March 2

2015 02 20 afl 1009 Weekend wrap: March 2

Oswego goalie Matt Zawadzki helped lift the Lakers past Buffalo State last weekend in the SUNYAC tournament (photo: Angelo Lisuzzo).

Lots went down in the Division III conference tournaments last weekend, so let’s get right to it.

ECAC EAST – Top-seeded (in the conference) and top-ranked (in the nation) Norwich edged Castleton 2-1 in a semifinal clash. Tallies by Dmitry Ermakov and Bryce Currier gave Cadet goaltender Ty Reichenbach all the goal support he would need … In the other semi, Babson upended Massachusetts-Boston, 5-2. Five different Beavers hit the scoresheet, while goalie Jamie Murray made 40 saves.

ECAC NORTHEAST – Johnson and Wales had no trouble dispatching Suffolk, 5-0. J & W broke open a close contest quarterfinal with three third-period goals, all of them unassisted. Goalie Joey Ballmer turned in a 27-save shutout … Elsewhere, Curry bombed Wentworth, 8-4. The Colonels received scoring from eight different sources.

ECAC WEST – Higher seeds Hobart and Neumann held the upper hand in Saturday’s semifinal action. The Statesmen had little trouble with Elmira, dispatching the Soaring Eagles 5-1. Bobby Sokol and Tommaso Traversa led the Hobart attack with a pair of goals each … Neumann walloped Nazareth, 8-4. The Knights broke open a 4-4 tie with four unanswered goals in the third.

MASCAC – Massachusetts-Dartmouth pulled off a mild upset in Saturday’s quarterfinal, nosing past Fitchburg State 5-4. The Corsairs held a commanding 4-0 lead early in the third, then had to hang on for the win … In the other quarter, Westfield State ousted Worcester State 6-3.

MIAC – Hamline is having the turnaround season of the year and the success continued for the Pipers Saturday in a MIAC tournament semifinal showdown against powerhouse St. Thomas, the reigning tourney champs and the 14th-ranked team in the nation.

Playing on the road against a Tommies team that had lost only once at home all year, the Pipers used an impressive offensive effort to earn a 6-3 win and punch a ticket to the championship game of the conference tourney.

Hamline was playing its second road game in three days – it rallied for a 4-3 win over Augsburg in the quarterfinal round Thursday – but that didn’t seem to bother the Pipers, who are seeking their first NCAA tournament berth since 2011.

Cody Mason broke a 3-3 tie with 4:09 left in the game. Brandon Zurn scored to push the score to 5-3 and an empty-netter by Kevin Novakovich finished off the scoring. It was Novoakovich’s second goal of the night.

It marked the first time all season that St. Thomas has given up more than four goals in a game.

John Sellie-Hanson made 34 saves for the Pipers, who improved to 13-10-14 overall after winning only three games combined the past two seasons.

The Pipers went 1-2 against St. Thomas in the regular season and won only their fifth road game of the season. Saturday’s win was the first in the postseason against the Tommies, who gave up more than four goals for the first time this season.

Connor McBride, Willie Faust and Nick Nielsen all scored for the Tommies. Andrew Herbert and Jaycob McCombs also punched in goals for the Pipers.

Hamline’s opponent in the championship game will be St. Mary’s, which edged Concordia (Minn.) 4-3 in double-overtime Sunday.

The Cardinals (15-9-3) earned the win on a goal by Martin Gruse.

Bob Kinne, Taylor Portner and Joey Van Antwerp also scored goals for St. Mary’s, which won its third consecutive game.

The Cobbers (13-9-4) got goals from Jeremy Johnson, Jordie Bancroft and John Grebosky.

St. Mary’s, in the MIAC tournament for the first time since 2004, won two of three against Concordia during the regular season, but had been beaten 8-3 by the Cobbers in the last meeting two weeks ago.

The Cobbers came in 3-1-1 in their last five games and were making their fourth postseason appearance in the past five seasons.

NCHA – Third-ranked Adrian needed overtime to hold off St. Scholastica in a thrilling Harris Cup semifinal battle Saturday night at home.

The Bulldogs (22-3-3) and Saints (12-13-3) played an overtime game for the fourth time in six meetings and Adrian prevailed when Kyle Brothers scored on the power play in OT. It was one of two goals Brothers scored in the win.

Playing for an NCHA title didn’t look likely for Adrian early on as the Bulldogs trailed 3-1. Dave Williams, Michael Spring and Dylan Nowakowski all scored to push the Saints in front. Brothers had the only goal for Adrian during the rough start.

But goals by Duston Hebebrand and Mathew Thompson brought the Bulldogs back to life and Brothers took care of the rest in the extra session as Adrian moved one step closer to an NCAA tournament berth.

Adrian, the winner of 10 consecutive games, will battle reigning conference and national champion St. Norbert for the title Saturday.

“I’m proud of the fight in this group and we look forward to the championship against a talented St. Norbert team,” Adrian coach Adam Krug said in a story on the school website. “It should be another great matchup and I hope we fire away from the beginning.”

The Bulldogs scored twice on the power play, while Saints went 0-for-3. Goalie Scott Shackell made 36 saves for Adrian, which avenged a 4-3 loss to the Saints in the playoffs last year.

In the other semifinal, No. 7 St. Norbert is still alive and well in the hunt for a conference title. The Green Knights moved on to the championship game with a 3-1 win over No. 15 Milwaukee School of Engineering Saturday.

The Green Knights (20-5-2) have won the last five conference titles and will have shot at No. 6 when they battle Adrian for the title Saturday.

St. Norbert scored three times in the second period as Chris Rial struck twice and Ross Pavek scored as well to push the Green Knights’ advantage to 3-0.

Zach Simpson scored the lone goal for the Raiders (17-11) in the third period. St. Norbert held a 31-17 advantage in shots. Brett Bower, Sam Higgins and Cullen Bradshaw all tallied assists for the Green Knights, who have won seven consecutive games.

Both teams struggled to convert on the power-play. St. Norbert missed on all six of its chances. MSOE was 1-of-8.

NESCAC – Quarterfinal tournament action got underway on four fronts, but the headliner was the stunning upset pulled off by Tufts. The Jumbos surprised top seed (and second-ranked) Trinity 2-1. Tyler Voigt netted the game-winner with 4:43 gone in the third, while goalie Mason Pulde slammed the door with a 40-save gem … Elsewhere, Amherst blanked Middlebury 3-0 behind a 28-save shutout from goalie Danny Vitale. Connecticut College took out Hamilton 4-3 in overtime, with J.C. Cangelosi providing the game-winner – on a power play – at 10:58 of the extra session. Lastly, Williams also was a 4-3 overtime winner, taking out Bowdoin on Craig Kitto’s tally at 9:26.

SUNYAC – Top seed Plattsburgh outlasted upset-minded Brockport, 7-5. The Cardinals held a hefty 4-1 lead after the first stanza, but Bport rallied to tie, 4-4, with three second-period goals. Platty scored twice, early in the third then held on from there. Meanwhile, Oswego squeaked past Buffalo State, thanks to a pair of goals from Brandon Adams and a 21-save whitewash by goalie Matt Zawadzki.

WIAC – Ninth-ranked Wisconsin-River Falls went the distance in its WIAC tournament semifinal series with 12th-ranked Wisconsin-Eau Claire and came out on top, ending the series with a 2-1 overtime win in the mini-game Saturday. The Falcons had won the opener 4-3 Friday, but lost the second game of the series 4-2.

Ross Andersen gave the Blugolds an early 1-0 lead, but the Falcons struck back and tied the score at 1-1. The mini-game ended in a tie and a sudden-death OT followed. Taylor Burden scored on a penalty shot, stepping up in a clutch moment to give the Falcons the win and a spot in the WIAC tournament title game.

In game two of the series, the Falcons fell behind 2-0 before Burden scored to cut the lead in half. It was his fourth goal of the year.

Blake Huppert punched in a goal in the second period to tie the game at 2-2. He also assisted on Burden’s goal earlier in the game.

The Falcons (19-7-1) lost three times to Eau Claire (18-7-2) in the regular season but came out ready to go in Friday’s opener.

Mike Fazio gave River Falls an early 1-0 lead but the Falcons trailed 3-1 before Mike Dietrich scored to cut the lead to 3-2. Kyle Gattelaro’s goal in the third tied the score at 3-3 and then gave the Falcons the lead for good at 4-3 later in the period.

Tanner Milliron made 25 saves as the Falcons snapped a two-game losing streak and handed the Blugolds just their fourth home loss of the year.

In the other WIAC tourney semifinal series, No. 5 Wisconsin-Stevens Point got the job done against Wisconsin-Superior and will play for the conference title this weekend.

The Pointers (21-5-1) trailed 3-2 after two periods, but exploded for three goals in the third to pull away for the win and wrap up the hard-fought series.

Lawrence Cornellier, Kevin Gibson and Scott Henegar all scored in the third for the Pointers, who held a 33-28 edge in shots.

Tanner Dion gave Superior (9-18-1) a 1-0 lead before Garrett Ladd tied the game at 1-1. Jordan Neduzak scored the Yellowjackets’ next two goals, the second giving Superior a 3-2 lead.

But it was all Stevens Point the rest of the way as they put themselves in a position to earn another trip to the NCAA tournament. The Pointers were the national runner-up a year ago.

Stevens Point and Superior skated to a 1-1 overtime tie in Friday’s opener.

Kyle Sharkey scored the lone goal for the Pointers in the first period, but Superior tied the game on a goal by Eric Shand in the third to force OT. Neither team could score in the final 18 minutes of the third or in the five-minute OT.

Sharkey’s goal was his 15th of the season.

It was the first tie of the season for the Pointers. Goalie Brandon Jaeger made 28 saves and played in his 86th career game, breaking the program record.

Conference tournament picks

131115 UST UWSP M 0222 Conference tournament picks

Drew Fielding will need to be strong in net if St. Thomas is to emerge out of the MIAC as playoff champs (photo: Ryan Coleman, d3photography.com).

This is when Dan and Brian really hope that magic 8-ball works wonders as they pick the nine conference tournaments in men’s Division III.

BRIAN LESTER

MIAC

St. Thomas vs. Hamline: I’m picking Hamline to knock off Augsburg in the quarterfinal game, which means the Pipers will battle the Tommies on the road Saturday in a semifinal showdown. The Tommies are tough to beat at home. St. Thomas, 4-2.

St. Mary’s vs. Concordia (Minn.): The Cardinals are having one of their best seasons in more than a decade. The Cobbers have had a great year as well, but haven’t played in nearly two weeks. I like the way St. Mary’s has played in the second half of the season. St. Mary’s 5-4.

Championship: St. Thomas will once again be the top team in the MIAC and head back to the NCAA tournament. St. Thomas, 4-3.

NCHA

Adrian vs. St. Scholastica: The Bulldogs are a hot hockey right now and have a dangerous offense and a stingy defense. The Saints were nationally-ranked at times this season and are coming off an upset in the opening round. But it’s hard to bet against the Bulldogs, especially at home. Adrian, 5-2, 4-2.

St. Norbert vs. Milwaukee School of Engineering: The Green Knights are on a roll, winning five consecutive games, and are determined to defend their NCHA title. MSOE beat St. Norbert once this year, but I think St. Norbert will rise to the occasion this weekend. St. Norbert, 5-3.

Championship: Adrian is the best team in the NCHA this year and the Bulldogs will be the team holding up the trophy when the tourney is all said and done. Adrian, 6-4.

WIAC

Wisconsin-Stevens Point vs. Wisconsin-Superior: The Pointers have put together back-to-back 20-win seasons and are hungry for a league tourney championship. Superior will play hard, but Stevens Point is too good of a team to lose this series. Stevens Point, 5-2, 4-0.

Wisconsin-Eau Claire vs. Wisconsin-River Falls: This series could certainly go the distance. The Blugolds and Falcons are both playing good hockey heading into the tournament. Eau Claire went 3-0 against River Falls in the regular season. Eau Claire 4-2, River Falls 4-3, Eau Claire 2-1.

Championship: Stevens Point and Eau Claire will duke it out for the title in a showdown between two of the best teams in the nation. But the Pointers are on a mission and I expect them to get the job done. Stevens Point, 5-4.

DAN HICKLING

All games Saturday

ECAC EAST Semifinal – #4 Castleton ( 11-15-0, 8-10-0) @ #1 Norwich (22-3-1, 17-1-0). Norwich 5, Castleton 1. Norwich is on the sort of roll that could land them a spot in the Frozen Four. Castleton happens to be in line for a flattening.

ECAC NORTHEAST Semifinal - #6 Suffolk (11-12-2) @ #3 Johnson & Wales (14-10-1, 8-6-0). J & W 3, Suffolk 2. Suffolk got off to one of the best starts (7-0-1) in school history, then fell apart after Christmas. J & W could use a little traction themselves, but chances are they’ll find some here.

ECAC WEST Semifinal – #3 Nazareth (12-9-5, 7-4-4) @ #2 Neumann (13-8-4, 9-5-1). Neumann 5, Nzareth 3. As a third year program, the rise of Nazareth has been impressive. Neumann did knock the Golden Flyers off twice, two weekends back and has been strong at home (8-3-1) all season long.

MASCAC Quarterfinal – #4 Westfield State (11-12-2, 8-8-2) @ #6 Worcester State (9-14-2, 7-10-1). Worcester 4, Westfield 3. Worcester put on a bit of a finishing kick to slip into the league’s final playoff spot. The guess here is that there is a little more left in the tank.

NESCAC Quarterfinal – # 5 Bowdoin (14-7-3, 8-7-3) @ #4 Williams (14-8-2, 10-7-1). Bowdoin 3, Williams 2. Could history repeat itself? If so, then the fifth-ranked Polar Bears should prepare for three more upset wins on the way to a second consecutive tourney title.

SUNYAC Semifinal – # 6 Brockport (13-11-2, 6-8-2) @ # 1 Plattsburgh (18-5-2, 13-2-1). Plattsburgh 6, Brockport 3. Brockport has enjoyed a very nice year, but Platty is not of a mind to make nice. Doubtful the Cardinals are looking past Bport to next week’s presumed clash (on home ice) with Oswego for the SUNYAC crown.

Weekend wrap: Feb. 23

mason baptista Weekend wrap: Feb. 23

Mason Baptista helped St. Norbert sweep Lawrence last weekend (photo: Nick Patton).

The regular season is in the books.

Now the fun starts.

Last weekend was full of action:

ECAC EAST – The East got a week’s jump on the playoffs, and with three nationally-ranked teams among its number, no upsets were expected. And none were pulled off, for that matter. Top seed Norwich ousted No. 8 Southern Maine, 4-0, Massachusetts-Boston blasted Skidmore, 11-1, Babson handled New England College, 3-1, and Castleton squeaked past UNE in overtime, 3-2. Corbin Marcotte scored the game-winner for the Spartans at the three-minute mark of the extra session. Round Two tilts featuring the four survivors are slated to go on Saturday.

ECAC NORTHEAST – Nichols polished off its strong regular season with a pair of wins over WNEC, 5-2 and 8-3. Junior forward Frank Butler had a massive weekend, notching three-goal hat tricks in both games, giving him 19 for the season … Salve Regina, which will be seeded second in the upcoming playoffs, was upended 4-1 Johnson & Wales, which will be the third seed.

ECAC WEST – Regular-season play in the West wrapped up on Friday with first-place Hobart squeezing past Elmira, 2-1. Neumann topped Manhattanville, 5-2, thanks to a four-goal second period eruption, while Nazareth and Utica battled to a 1-1 overtime tie. The playoffs will open on Wednesday.

MASCAC – Conference champ Plymouth State fended off lowly Framingham State, 2-1, thanks to second-period goals by Zach Sarig and Josh Woody. The Panthers fired 41 shots at Framingham goalie Alessio Muggli. Salem State, which sits in second place just two points ahead of Fitchburg State, fought to a 1-1 overtime tie with the Falcons.

MIAC – St. Thomas did it again. The Tommies are the champions of the MIAC, winning the title outright with a sweep of rival St. John’s. It marks the fourth consecutive year the Tommies have earned at least a share of the championship. The Tommies beat the Johnnies 3-1 Friday to wrap up the regular season. Nick Nielsen, Michael Krieg and Willie Faust all scored goals for St. Thomas, which improved to 16-5-4 overall and 10-3-3 in the MIAC. The Tommies end the regular season with an 11-1-2 record at home. St. Thomas has won its last two games and is unbeaten in five of its last six games. Drew Fielding tallied 29 saves and won his 12th game of the season…St. Mary’s ended the regular season in second place after topping Hamline 5-4 Saturday. The Cardinals got a huge lift from Bob Kinne, who recorded his first collegiate hat trick. Kinne scored all three of his goals in the first two periods of the game. It was the fifth time this season that a St. Mary’s player has come through with a hat trick. The Cardinals also got goals from Taylor Portner and Mike Mezzano as they improved to 14-9-2 overall and 9-5-2 in the conference. The 14 wins is the most for a St. Mary’s team since the 1997-98 campaign. Phil Heinle made 49 saves, two shy of his career high. The Cardinals edged Hamline 4-3 in overtime Friday behind a game-winning goal from Chad Cesarz, helping St. Mary’s secure its first playoff trip since the 2003-04 season. Cesarz has scored 13 goals for St. Mary’s, which enters the playoffs on a two-game win streak … The MIAC postseason begins Thursday with Hamline traveling to Augsburg for a quarterfinal showdown. St. Thomas hosts the winner of that game Saturday. St. Mary’s welcomes Concordia (Minn.) to town in the other semifinal. The championship is slated for March 7 at the site of the highest remaining seed. The Tommies are the reigning league tourney champions and one of only two teams that were in the tourney field a year ago. Concordia was also in the MIAC tournament last season.

NCHA – St. Norbert stayed alive in its quest to win another NCHA championship after rolling through a two-game series against Lawrence over the weekend. The Green Knights blanked the Vikings twice, winning 5-0 and 6-0 to advance to the semifinal round of the Harris Cup playoffs. Michael Hill fueled the Green Knights in their series-clinching win, recording a hat trick. He also dished out an assist. His goal total for the season is at 20. Mason Baptista tallied three assists while Tyler Zepeda came through with a goal and assist for the defending national champions. The Green Knights, who are 19-5-2, scored three times off the power play as they won their fifth consecutive game. It was their third consecutive shutout win. On Friday, Cullen Bradshaw, Blake Thompson, Tanner Froese, Kyle Lee and Chris Rial all scored…The Milwaukee School of Engineering survived a thrilling series against Marian over the weekend and advanced into the semifinal round of the tourney against St. Norbert. The Raiders won the opener 6-3 but fell 4-2 in the second game, setting up a mini-game between the two teams. MSOE earned the win in OT of the mini-game thanks to a goal by James Ring. Ring also scored a goal in the regulation game. Brian Berger scored twice for the Sabres Saturday. The Raiders held a 9-1 advantage in shots in OT of the mini-game. MSOE started off the series with a win Friday. Evan Wilson scored twice to pace the offensive attack of the Raiders, who ended Marian’s six-game win streak. Adrian swept Concordia in its opening playoff series while St. Scholastica went the distance against Lake Forest, winning 1-0 in a decisive mini-game Sunday. The Saints won the opener of the series 2-1 but fell 3-2 in the second game Sunday. That set up the mini-game and the Saints prevailed, winning 1-0 and advancing to play Adrian this weekend in the semifinal round of the tourney. Derek Hills scored the winning goal. On Friday, Keegan Bruce scored the game-winner in the second period as the Saints opened up a 1-0 lead in the series.

NESCAC – Having already wrapped up the NESCAC crown, Trinity tuned up for the playoffs with a pair of decisive wins over Wesleyan, 4-1 and 6-0. Connecticut College notched a pair of 4-1 wins – at Bowdoin and Colby – and wound up slipping into third place tie with Williams which lost both its weekend encounters. Because they hold the tiebreaker over Williams, the Camels will be the third seed in the playoffs, which get started on Saturday.

SUNYAC – It was hardly the sort of regular season wrapup that Oswego had hoped for. Ranked first in the nation heading into Friday’s tilt with then No. 9 Plattsburgh, the Lakers were held to a 3-3 overtime tie and had to rally for that much via Nick Ravait’s third-period power-play goal. The next night, Oswego was upset by Potsdam, 4-2, as the Bears potted four unanswered goals, and in the process, earned them a home playoff game (Wednesday against Buffalo State) for the first time in six seasons … For its part, Plattsburgh captured the league’s regular-season crown, its first since 2009, with Saturday’s 5-2 win at Cortland.

WIAC – Wisconsin-Stevens Point didn’t win the regular season championship a year ago, but did go on to play for the national championship. The Pointers are the champions of the WIAC in the regular season this year, however, after beating Wisconsin-River Falls and Wisconsin-Superior this past weekend for its 10th title in program history. Stevens Point clinched the title outright Saturday with a 7-0 win over Superior, giving it back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since the 1991-92 and 1992-93 seasons. Stevens Point is 20-5 overall and 10-2 in the WIAC. It hasn’t had a 20-win regular season since winning the title in 1993 and the Pointers won their first regular season title since 2000. Kyle Sharkey scored a goal and dished out two assists while Kevin Gibson also came through with a goal and two assists. Scott Henegar racked up four assists against Superior. Brandon Jaeger won his 20th game in goal as he racked up his fifth shutout of the season. He has won 20 games in each of the last two years and is second all-time in saves with 1,892. The Pointers topped River Falls 5-3 Friday. Gibson and Garrett Ladd both tallied a goal and an assist … Wisconsin-Eau Claire will be the second seed in the WIAC tournament after finishing off a perfect weekend. The Blugolds wrapped up the regular season with a 3-2 win over River Falls Saturday. They trailed 2-0 but scored the next three goals en route to the win. They are 17-6-2 overall and 9-3 in the WIAC. Ross Andersen scored the game winner. It was his fifth shorthanded goal of the year, tying a school record that was set during the 1991-92 season. It was also Andersen’s fourth game-winning goal of the season. Patrick Moore and Jack Callahan also scored goals for the Blugolds, who are 73-31-8 over the last four seasons. Eau Claire has won its last two games. It started off the week with a 5-1 win over Stout Thursday. The Blugolds have won eight of the last 11 games against the Blue Devils and assured themselves of a winning season for the fifth consecutive year with the victory. The Blugolds begin postseason play next weekend when they host River Falls in a playoff series.

Weekend picks: Feb. 20

Ceasar action Weekend picks: Feb. 20

Goaltender Gordon Ceasar has kept Plymouth State in numerous games this season and hopes that continues this weekend against Framingham State (photo: Kim Bownes/PSU Athletics).

The last weekend of the regular season makes us realize how fast time has gone by.

Wasn’t it just yesterday that the freshmen were moving in and practices were starting up?

That said, games this weekend all have bearing on conference tournaments, some of which that start this weekend.

DAN HICKLING – East

Friday

SUNYAC
No. 9 Plattsburgh (17-5-1, 12-2-0) @ No. 1 Oswego (17-2-3, 12-1-1) – Oswego 3, Plattsburgh 2
Strange things often handle after a team rises to the top of the polls, but the Lakers should be full of focus. Platty, too, for that matter. Is there a better rivalry in all of D-III? Conceivably they could meet twice more – for the SUNYAC title and in the Frozen Four.

ECAC WEST
No. 13 Hobart (18-6-0, 11-3-0) @ Elmira (11-10-3, 5-7-2) – Hobart 5, Elmira 3
The Statesmen have been in playoff overdrive … since New Year’s Day.

NESCAC
No. 3 Trinity (19-2-1, 14-1-1 ) @ Wesleyan (3-19-0, 2-14-0) – Trinity 5, Wesleyan 2
On any given night? Not this night.

Saturday

ECAC EAST
Playoff quarterfinal No. 5 Univ. of New England @ No. 4 Castleton – UNE 2, Castleton 1
Such middle-of-the-pack playoff matchups tend to be the most unpredictable and spine-tingling. The teams split their two regular season meetings, with the visitor prevailing both times. That trend may continue here.

MASCAC
Plymouth State (12-7-3, 12-2-1) @ Framingham State (5-14-2, 4-10-1) – Framingham 5, Plymouth 3
Having already wrapped up the conference crown, PSU could be in store for a letdown. If so, this could be it.

ECAC NORTHEAST
Becker (4-18-0, 0-10-0) @ (12-9-2, 5-6-1) Curry – Becker 4, Curry 2
Just because Becker’s day hasn’t come yet doesn’t mean it won’t. Time is getting short, though.

BRIAN LESTER – West

The final weekend of the regular season has arrived for teams in the MIAC and WIAC, while the NCHA teams begin postseason play this weekend.

St. John’s (11-8-5, 7-6-2 MIAC) at St. Thomas (15-5-4, 9-3-3): St. Thomas won the opener of this series on Thursday, edging St. John’s 3-2. With the Tommies coming home to close out the regular season and eager to put the finishing touches on another league title, I don’t expect them to stumble against their rival. The Johnnies will keep it close, but St. Thomas is 10-1-2 at home. St. Thomas, 4-3.

Hamline (11-8-4, 7-4-3) vs. St. Mary’s (12-9-2, 7-5-2): The Pipers and Cardinals come in tied for third place in the league standings. Both teams are jockeying for playoff position. Hamline has enjoyed a turnaround season while St. Mary’s has been one of the hottest teams in the league in the second half. I don’t expect a sweep either way. The Pipers have won two in a row and the Cardinals, led by Martin Gruse (18 goals, 15 assists), are looking for a bounce-back win. Hamline, 4-2, St. Mary’s 3-2.

Adrian (19-3-3) vs. Concordia (Wis.) (8-17): The Bulldogs are the champions of the NCHA and have won their last seven. The Falcons have dropped their last two and face a daunting challenge of beating the Adrian on its home ice in a playoff series. It should be an easy weekend for the Bulldogs, who have scored 119 goals and allowed just 58. Adrian 6-0, 7-2.

Marian (13-11-1) vs. Milwaukee School of Engineering (16-9): This could be the most intriguing series of the opening round. The Sabres head out on the road to battle the Raiders with a ton of momentum. Marian has hit its stride at the right time and have won six in a row. MSOE has won its last two games. Marian has scored 74 goals and allowed 74. MSOE has tallied 80 goals and has given up 57. The Raiders get the edge at home in what should be a tight series. The Raiders are 10-3 at home. However. I won’t be surprised if Marian comes out on top. MSOE, 4-3, 3-2.

Wisconsin-Stevens Point (18-5, 8-2 WIAC) at Wisconsin-River Falls (18-4-1, 7-3): The Pointers can wrap up the league championship with a win in this game and while they will have to do it on the road, I think the 2014 national runner-up will get the job done. The Pointers have won six of seven and have racked up 103 goals while getting solid play out of starting goalie Brandon Jaeger. The Falcons have won their last four and are headed in the right direction. Stevens Point, 4-3.

Wisconsin-River Falls (18-4-1, 7-3) at Wisconsin-Eau Claire (16-6-2, 8-3): The Falcons will be hungry going into this game, but the Blugolds have already beaten the Falcons twice during the season. I won’t be stunned if River Falls wins this game, but Eau Claire has won four of five and is clicking offensively, scoring five goals in each of its last four wins. Eau Claire, 5-3.

Weekend wrap: Feb. 16

mike freitag2 sized Weekend wrap: Feb. 16

Plymouth State junior Mike Freitag helped the Panthers to their second straight MASCAC regular-season title last weekend (photo: Richard Orr Photography/Plymouth State Athletics).

Ah yes. The weekend that was.

So what happened? Miss something?

No worries. Our columnists have it covered.

ECAC EAST – The big news of the week came out of Massachusetts-Boston, Saturday, when the No. 7 ranked Beacons knocked off top-ranked Norwich, 4-3. Two goals in 32 seconds late in the third period – by Mike Maciag and Peter MacIntyre – erased a 3-2 Cadet lead and put UMB over the top. MacIntyre’s tally, his second of the game and 10th of the season, came at 14:54 and proved to be the game-winner … Friday, Norwich blasted Babson 6-1, while the Beacons squeaked past St. Michael’s 6-5 in overtime.

ECAC NORTHEAST – The league’s top two teams, Nichols and Salve Regina, hooked up for a 4-4 overtime tie in the lone weekend tilt for both. Salve scored twice in a frenetic final 2:43 stretch to salvage the tie, with Marc Biggs potting the deadlocker on a power play with just three seconds remaining in regulation. The Bison hold a slim one-point lead over Salve heading into the final week of the season, and with three games to play, have a game in hand on the Seahawks, too.

ECAC WEST – Hobart clinched the West’s regular-season crown – its third since 2004 – after carding a pair of shutout wins over Manhattanville, 1-0 and 3-0. Friday’s win came the hard way, as Brad Robbins netted the lone goal of the game at 1:51 of overtime, which was all the scoring support Statesmen freshman goalie Frank Oplinger would need for his 26-save whitewash. Oplinger stopped 18 more Valiants’ shots on Saturday to run his shutout streak to 142:39.

MASCAC – Plymouth State wrapped up its second consecutive MASCAC title and third in four seasons after Thursday’s 3-2 win over Mass Dartmouth. Mike Freitag’s goal with 3:43 remaining in the third proved to be the game-winner and crown-clincher. The Panthers hold a six point lead over second place Salem State which has just two games remaining.

MIAC – Hamline made the most of a crucial weekend, sweeping a series against Augsburg to move into a tie for third place in the standings. The Pipers edged the Auggies 3-2 Friday and then grinded out a 6-5 overtime win Saturday, moving a step closer to clinching a spot in the conference tournament. Hamline led 2-0 early in Saturday’s game but fell behind 4-3 at the end of two periods and trailed 5-3 11 seconds into the third. But the Pipers would not be denied, scoring twice in the third and getting the game-winner from Charlie Adams in the final minute of OT. Hamline has been the turnaround story of the year. The Pipers, who won only three games the past two seasons, are 11-8-4 overall and 7-4-3 in the conference. Joe Ruebbelke and Brandon Reinholz tied the score at 5-5 in the third. Erick Majerle, who had not played since Jan. 10, came into the game in the third and made 17 saves. Hamline had to rally Friday as well, trailing 2-0 before fighting back for the victory. Josh Gaughan and Brandon Zurn tied the score at 2-2 before Jaycob McCombs scored in the third to give Hamline the win. The Pipers enter the final weekend with 25 points, three less than conference co-leaders Concordia and St. Thomas … St. Mary’s stayed in the hunt for a playoff berth after splitting a weekend series with Concordia (Minn.). The Cardinals won 4-3 in OT Friday, but fell 8-3 to the Cobbers Saturday. Martin Gruse scored twice in Friday’s win, including the game-winner less than two minutes into OT. Jared Johnson also scored for St. Mary’s and Phil Heinle made 23 saves. The Cardinals didn’t have the same luck in the finale. The Cobbers scored six times in the first two periods en route to the win. St. Mary’s fell to 12-9-2 overall and 7-5-2 in the MIAC. Nick Albergo, Bob Kinne and Taylor Portner all scored for the Cardinals, who are tied for third with Hamline. Tucker Coborn scored twice for the Cobbers, who remain in a tie for first place. The Cobbers are 13-8-4 overall and 8-5-3 in the MIAC. Jeremy Johnson came through with a goal and two assists and Jordan Christianson tallied one goal and one assist.

NCHA – Adrian won’t have to worry about sharing the NCHA championship this year. The Bulldogs won the Peters Cup outright on Friday night, skating to a 6-2 win over Lake Forest. The fifth-ranked Bulldogs won their seventh league crown in eight seasons, with six of those titles being won in the old MCHA. Mathew Thompson scored two goals for the Bulldogs. Josh Ranalli scored the 61st goal of his career in the victory. His goal gave Adrian a 2-1 lead. It was Ranalli’s eighth career game-winner. He also tallied two assists. James Hamby earned the start and made 41 saves as he improved to 3-2 on the year. He is 4-0 in his career against the Foresters. Lake Forest, ranked 13th in the nation, came in needing a win to have a shot at earning at least a share of the league title. Adrian capped the weekend with another 6-2 win as it raised its record to 19-3-3 overall and 16-1-1 in the NCHA. Duston Hebebrand gave the Bulldogs the lead for good at 3-2 after Lake Forest opened up a 2-1 lead. Ranalli also scored twice in the victory. Hamby started again for the Bulldogs and racked up 22 saves for his fourth win. Lake Forest got its only goals from Luke Swardenski and Mcauley Banning. The Foresters are 14-6-5 overall and 12-5-1 in the NCHA. Adrian will host Concordia (Wis.) in the opening round of the Harris Cup playoffs, while Lake Forest starts off its postseason at home against St. Scholastica. The Foresters are the third seed in the eight-team playoff … Marian will head into the conference tournament with momentum after sweeping a weekend series against St. Scholastica. The Sabres topped the Saints 4-3 Friday and finished off the series with a 6-5 OT win Saturday. Marian is 11-11-1 overall and 7-8-1 in the league and will go into the tourney as the fifth seed, traveling to the Milwaukee School of Engineering for opening-round action. Brian Berger scored the game-winner in the thrilling showdown and extended his point streak to 11 games. Six players scored goals for the Sabres, who trailed 4-2 heading into the final period of regulation. Hunter Stewart and Ben Morgan tied the game at 4-4. The Saints went back in front on a power-play goal by Matt Malenstyn. Marian answered when Mark Whiteley scored off the power-play to force OT. Both teams scored twice on the power play. The Sabres secured the fifth seed in the conference tourney with Friday’s win. Berger highlighted the night as he came through with a hat trick. He scored one of his goals off the power play. Mike Gudmandson turned in a strong performance both nights as he picked up his eighth and ninth wins of the season. He made 42 saves in the two games for Marian, which heads into the playoffs as one of the hottest teams in the league on the strength of a six-game win streak.

NESCAC – Trinity repeated as NESCAC regular-season champs after notching wins at Bowdoin (5-4) and Colby (5-1). Ryan Cole took over the league’s scoring lead with a six point weekend (2g, 4a), while Sean Orlando scored three goals and set up two others in the twin wins.

SUNYAC – Oswego entered the weekend ranked second in the country and in second place in the SUNYAC, but took over the top rungs on both ladders after grabbing four points via road wins over Brockport (3-1) and Geneseo (2-1). Alex Botten scored in both tilts, including the game-winner at Brockport. The Lakers had trailed idle Plattsburgh by three points in the SUNYAC. The two titans will clash Friday in Oswego.

WIAC – Wisconsin-River Falls and Wisconsin-Eau Claire are both tied for second in the WIAC heading into the final week of the regular season. River Falls swept a weekend series against Wisconsin-Stout and Eau Claire split with Wisconsin-Stevens Point in a battle of nationally-ranked teams … The No. 3 Pointers and No. 12 Blugolds squared off in a huge showdown. Stevens Point maintained its hold on first place with a 5-2 Saturday. The Pointers scored the final four goals of the game on a night when five players scored. Andrew Kolb helped lead the way as he scored a goal and dished out two assists. Kyle Sharkey came through with a goal and an assist as the Pointers improved to 18-5 overall and 8-2 in the conference. They are one-game up on the Blugolds and Falcons with a week to play. Eau Claire picked up a 5-2 win Friday, scoring four times in the second to grab the momentum. The Blugolds, 15-6-2 overall and 7-3 in the league, led 5-1 at that point and never looked back. Five players scored for the Blugolds, with Adam Knochenmus coming through with a goal and an assist. Patrick Moore and T.J. Stuntz also tallied a goal and an assist in the win. Eau Claire moved into a tie for first with Friday’s win but fell back into second the next night. Ethan Nauman scored his 18th goal of the season in the win while Ross Anderson came through with his 17th goal of the year. Eau Claire’s win snapped the Pointers’ five-game win streak. The Blugolds had their three-game win streak snapped Saturday … River Falls, ranked sixth in the country, nailed down two big wins over the weekend, giving it a shot of momentum as it heads into the final week of the regular season. The Falcons, who beat the Blue Devils 3-2 and 5-2, have won four consecutive games, their longest streak since starting the year with 13 consecutive wins. On Saturday, River Falls scored three straight goals to put the game away, improving to 18-4-1 overall and 7-3 in the WIAC. Mitch Kontny led the way with two goals and an assist. He has 16 points on the season. Kyle Gattelaro scored a goal as well and has 20 points. Mike Deitrich and Jeff Bergh also scored for the Falcons. Tanner Milliron earned his 18th win of the year in goal. The Falcons opened the weekend with a win behind goals from Christian George, Ryan Doner and Gattelaro. Gattelaro and George also came through with assists. Terry Leabo also tallied an assist, his 10th of the season.

Weekend picks: Feb. 13

leo podolsky1 Weekend picks: Feb. 13

Leo Podolsky looks to help Lake Forest to at least a share of the NCHA regular-season title this weekend (photo: Erin Shamley).

It’s Friday the 13th – and our columnists dare to pick this weekend’s games as we are entering crunch time.

Away we go.

BRIAN LESTER – West

Lake Forest enters the final weekend of the regular season with a chance to clinch a share of the NCHA championship. The challenge, however, is finding a way to take down Adrian, which comes into the series looking to earn the title outright.

The No. 12 Foresters are 14-4-5 overall and 12-3-1 in the conference. The No. 5 Bulldogs are 17-3-3 overall and have a 14-1-1 record in NCHA play.

Lake Forest is unbeaten in 16 of its last 17 games and has capitalized on a tremendous defensive effort. In seven of its last eight games, Lake Forest has allowed more than one goal only twice. Much of that credit goes to goalie Leo Podolsky, who is 14-3-3 with a 1.61 goals-against average.

Adrian is riding the high of a five-game win streak and has been impressive away from home, fashioning a 9-1-2 record. The Bulldogs are dangerous on offense, tallying 107 goals on the season, and they have given up only 54 goals. Kyle Brothers has fueled the offensive success with 19 goals and 18 assists. Not bad numbers for a freshman. Lake Forest, 3-2; Adrian 4-2.

Milwaukee School of Engineering (14-9 overall, 9-7 NCHA) vs. Concordia (Wis.) (8-15, 4-12): MSOE needs two wins this week to remain in the hunt for a league playoff spot. The Raiders have won four of five and want to keep that momentum rolling. Omar Mullan leads the Raiders with 13 goals and 17 assists.

The Falcons have won their last two games and would love to end the year on a high note. Devin Stuermer leads Concordia with 11 goals and 15 assists. Concordia will need to be on its game defensively. It has allowed 97 goals on the year and three goalies have seen action for the Falcons. MSOE, 5-2, 4-2.

Concordia (Minn.) (12-7-4 overall, 7-4-3) at St. Mary’s (11-8-2, 6-4-2 MIAC): The Cobbers have an opportunity to stay within striking distance of the conference title with a pair of wins this weekend. They sit just two points behind first-place St. Thomas and are three points ahead of the Cardinals. Winning on the road isn’t easy, but Concordia has had its share of success away from home, fashioning a 4-2-1 record.

The Cardinals have been one of the hottest teams in the league in the second half and have won three of four. They are looking to bounce back after a 5-4 loss to Augsburg last weekend. The Cardinals have scored three or more goals in their last four games. I’m expecting a split. St. Mary’s, 4-2; Concordia 5-3.

Augsburg (10-11 overall, 7-5) vs. Hamline (9-8-4, 5-4-3): Augsburg is currently tied for fourth with St. John’s in the league standings but has been up and down in terms of scoring as of late. The Auggies have scored four or more goals three times in their last six but have been blanked twice during that stretch as well. Augsburg has scored 60 goals and allowed 67. Mark Ohnsted has led the way with 12 goals and 10 assists.

Hamline comes into this series fighting for its playoff life. The Pipers have dropped two of three and have struggled to find consistency. They need to do it this weekend to stay in the MIAC tourney race. Hamline has come through with 57 goals and allowed 63. They have had similar success at home and on the road, going 4-3-2 at home and 4-4-2 in away games. Hamline, 3-2; Augsburg 4-3.

Wisconsin-Stevens Point (17-4, 7-1 WIAC) at Wisconsin-Eau Claire (14-5-2, 6-2): Few teams are hotter than the Pointers, who have won five consecutive games and have scored nearly 100 goals. The Pointers have the ability to get the job done on the road, going 8-2 away from home, and they will have to be at their best to keep their grip on first place. Brandon Jaeger’s play in goal will be key. Jaeger is 17-3 with a 2.13 goals-against average.

Eau Claire has won five of its last six and is looking to climb back into the hunt for league championship. The Blugolds trail the Pointers by only a game. Ethan Nauman and Brandon Wahlin are two of the best offensive players in the league, combining for 27 goals and 29 assists. Stevens Point won the first meeting 3-0. I think the Blugolds will at least take one in the series. Stevens Point, 5-4; Eau Claire 4-3.

Wisconsin-River Falls (16-4-1, 5-3) vs. Wisconsin-Stout (8-12-1, 3-5): River Falls has struggled in the second half of the year, but will look to close the regular season on a high note. Playing Stout will give the Falcons an opportunity to add to their win total. The Falcons have won back-to-back games, though, and are playing for the first time since the end of January. The time off shouldn’t have a negative impact on the Falcons.

Stout has lost its last two games and has struggled defensively all season, allowing 80 goals. Justin Moody leads the offense with nine goals and nine assists. It will take a phenomenal effort for the Blue Devils to knock off the Falcons. River Falls, 6-2, 5-2.

DAN HICKLING – East

Friday

ECAC EAST
No. 1 Norwich (20-2-1, 16-0-0) @ No. 10 Babson (16-4-3, 11-3-2) – Norwich 1, Babson 0
Babson goalie Jamie Murray is among the best in the game, but the top-ranked Cadets have enough offense to get by, even if only one goal will do.

SUNYAC
Cortland (9-9-3, 3-7-2) @ Geneseo (10-8-3, 7-5-0) – Geneseo 6, Cortland 5
Cortland desperately needs points to keep its postseason hopes afloat. Genny has struggled (uncustomarily, so) at home. This could go either way and might well go to extras.

ECAC WEST
Manhattanville (7-10-5, 2-8-2) @ Hobart (16-6-0, 9-3-0) – Hobart 5, Manhattanville 2
Two teams heading in opposite directions. That’s not likely to change this weekend when they face off twice.

Saturday

MASCAC
Framingham State (5-14-2, 4-10-1) @ Worcester State (4-14-2, 3-10-1) – Worcester 5, Framingham 3
When the bottom two teams clash, one figures that pride is on the line. Since when is pride NOT on the line?

NESCAC
Colby (5-12-3, 2-9-3) @ No. 4 Trinity (17-2-1, 12-1-1) – Trinity 4, Colby 1
Meet the new (regular season) champs. Same as the old champs.

ECAC NORTHEAST
Becker (4-17-0, 0-10-0) @ Wentworth (9-10-2, 4-5-1) – Becker 4, Wentworth 3
It was Bill Parcells who once said, “You are what your record says you are.” But perhaps that’s not always the case. Not if there is there is truth to that other time-worn chestnut, “On any given Saturday … “

Weekend wrap: Feb. 9

Tyler Brickler Weekend wrap: Feb. 9

Geneseo scoring leader Tyler Brickler helped the Knights beat Brockport last Friday night (photo: Dan Hickling).

What went down last weekend in Division III circles?

Read on.

ECAC EAST – Norwich went into the weekend with the Nation’s No. 1 ranking and strengthened its position with wins over wins over Castleton (3-0) and Skidmore (6-3). The Cadets allowed Castleton just seven shots, Friday, with goalie Ty Reichenbach recording one of the quietest shutouts on record … Massachusetts-Boston (28 points) stayed within four points of Norwich by thumping Southern Maine (4-0) and UNE (7-3). Goalie Billy Faust recorded the 23-save shutout at USM.

ECAC NORTHEAST – Nichols (15 points) continues to hold a one point lead over Salve Regina, after winning its only weekend start, 3-2, at Suffolk. The Bison did all its scoring in the second period, getting goals from Paul Prescott, Sean Fleming and Frank Butler … Salve kept pace with Nichols with a 3-0 blanking of Curry. Goalie Alexander Devine picked up the 20-save shutout in contest that featured a donnybrook in the final three seconds.

ECAC WEST – The weekend’s action saw Hobart slip into sole possession of first place, one point ahead of Nazareth, after the Statesmen swept Utica, 3-2 (in overtime) and 4-2. Jon Neal cinched Friday’s win for Hobart with his goal at 2:39 of the extra session. Brad Robbins scored twice in that tilt, then once more the following night … Nazareth salvaged a 5-5 tie at Manhattanville Friday after erasing a two goal third period decifit with goals from David Seward and Dominik Gabaj. On Saturday, the Golden Flyers got more third period scoring, getting tallies from Oliver Janzen and Julius Tamasy to take a 4-2 win from the Valiants.

MASCAC – Plymouth State took an impressive 6-2 win at Fitchburg State on Saturday and now holds an eight-point stranglehold (over both Salem State and Westfield State) on the MASCAC lead. Mike Freitag and Mike Economos both scored twice in the win, while Andrew Wigg, the league’s top scorer, added a goal and an assist … Salem and Westfield struggled to a 3-3 overtime tie Saturday. Maxime Richard notched the game-tying goal for the Owls with 2:06 left in regulation.

MIAC – St. Thomas is no longer tied for first place in the MIAC standings. The Tommies swept their weekend series against Bethel, while Concordia (Minn.) tied in one game against St. Olaf and won the other one. The 15th-ranked Tommies are two points ahead of the Cobbers and sit at 14-4-3 overall and 8-2-2 in the league. They have 27 points on the season. Drew Fielding made 24 saves in the 4-0 win on Saturday, while Jordan Lovick, Cory Kapelier, Michael Dockry and Alex Altnebernd all scored goals for the Tommies. Fielding improved to 11-4-3. The Tommies scored three of their four goals in the third period. On Friday, the Tommies and Royals combined for 10 goals and 23 penalties. Thomas Williams and Joakim Broberg each scored twice for St. Thomas. Tony Larson came through with two goals for the Royals, who come out of the weekend still looking for their first league win. They are 2-17-2 overall and 0-11-1 in the MIAC … Concordia remained in second in the league after edging St. Olaf 4-3 on Saturday. Jon Grebosky scored the winning goal in the final three minutes of play on an assist from Jordan Christianson. It was one of two goals Grebosky scored as the Cobbers improved to 12-7-4 overall and 7-4-4 in the MIAC. Andrew Deters racked up two assists and Jordyn Kaufman racked up 29 saves. Both teams gave up power-play goals in Friday’s 1-1 overtime tie. The Cobbers got their lone goal from Tucker Coborn, who tied the game at 1-1 in the second period. Justin Plate scored St. Olaf’s lone goal. The Oles had lost their last two games and is 6-13-3 overall and 4-7-2 in the league. Kaufer made 20 saves and is 7-3-3 on the year. His goals against average of 1.90 in league games ranks second in the MIAC. The Cobbers are three points up on third-place Saint Mary’s and four points ahead of Augsburg and Saint John’s in a tight MIAC race.

NCHA – No. 12 Lake Forest is assured of home ice in the opening round of the Harris Cup playoffs after blanking the Milwaukee School of Engineering 2-0 on Saturday. The Foresters are in second place in the standings with a week remaining in the regular season, sitting at 14-4-5 overall and 12-3-1 in the NCHA. Goalie Leo Podolsky helped propel Lake Forest to the win. He made 23 saves and improved to 14-3-3. He has the second-best save percentage (.951) and seventh-best goals-against average (1.61) in the nation. Jordan Bruce and Jack Lewis both scored goals for the Foresters, who have lost only one game since Nov. 21. That loss was on Friday night when the Raiders skated to a 2-1 win in Milwaukee, ending the Foresters’ 15-game unbeaten streak. Jimmy Cusan scored the only goal for Lake Forest, his fifth of the season, while Jerad Tafoya and Cody Ganchar scored for the Raiders. The victory stretched their win streak to four games and marked their second win over a ranked team this season … St. Norbert ended a rare four-game losing streak Saturday with a 4-3 win over St. Scholastica. It was the seventh-ranked Green Knights’ longest losing streak since a five-game slide during the 1996-97 season. Erik Cooper delivered the game-winner with 2:39 left in regulation of an assist from George Malliaras. It was Cooper’s second goal of the game. St. Norbert let a 3-1 lead slip away as Justin Kraben and Dave Williams both scored for the Saints to tie the score. Cooper finished his day with three points and the Green Knights improved to 15-5-2 overall and 11-4-1 in the conference. The reigning national champions are in third place in the standings. St. Scholastica opened the weekend with a 3-1 win. The Saints came into the game dealing with adversity as head coach Mark Wick took an indefinite leave of absence earlier in the week for medical reasons. Ben Gordon is in as the interim coach. Tyler Bruggeman helped make Gordon’s debut a good one, stopping 42 shots. Keegan Bruce and Matt Malenstyn scored to give the Saints a 2-1 lead and Kyle Beaulieu finished off the scoring for his first goal at St. Scholastica. The Saints are in fourth in the standings at 11-9-3 overall and 8-6-2 in the NCHA.

NESCAC – The big news of the week came out of Middlebury on Saturday when the Panthers blanked Wesleyan, 3-0, to give veteran coach Bill Beaney his 600th career win. Beaney is the 12th NCAA coach to reach that plateau and is Division III’s all time wins leader. Among those wins are eight Division-III championships … His team nearly gave him the milestone win the previous night, but the Panthers fell 2-1 in overtime to league-leading Trinity (25 points). The Bantams got the game-winner from Jackson Brewer at the 47-second mark of the extra session. The following night, Trinity took a 3-1 win at Williams, which slipped a point behind second place Amherst (20 points). The Lord Jeffs split their two-game swing through Maine, winning at Colby (2-1) then falling to Bowdoin (4-3).

SUNYAC – Life at the top is good for league-leaders Plattsburgh, following routs at Buffalo State (6-0) and Fredonia (9-0). Freshman Cardinal goaltender Brady Rouleau racked up both shutouts, giving him four for the season, while another freshman, defenseman Chris Taff, amassed seven points during the weekend, all of them assists … Meanwhile, Oswego (21) points, remained three points behind with two games in hand after sweeping Morrisville, 6-2 and 5-1. Sophomore Shawn Hulshof, the league’s leading point-getter (with 26) piled up nine more with three goals and six assists.

WIAC – Third-ranked Wisconsin-Stevens Point was on the ropes headed into the third period against Wisconsin-Stout on Saturday, but the Pointers found a way to rally for a crucial 3-2 overtime win and a weekend sweep of the Blue Devils. Stevens Points remains in first place in the WIAC. It is 17-4 overall and 8-1 in the conference. Lawrence Cornellier scored the game-winner 47 seconds into the OT as the Pointers nailed down their fifth consecutive win. It was the seventh goal of the year for Cornellier. Stout took a 2-0 lead on goals by Jordan Stejskal and Jake Useldinger. Kevin Gibson and Kyle Sharkey both tallied assists on the play. Joe Kalisz and Elliot Grauer scored in the third to tie the game at 2-2. Kalisz has eight points in the last four games and a team-best 15 goals. Brandon Jaeger won his 17th game of the season in goal. Jaeger picked up a shutout win on Friday as Stevens Point won 6-0. It was his fourth of the season. Garrett Ladd and Kyle Sharkey scored two goals apiece. Sharkey’s second goal marked the 50th point of his career. Stevens Point was 3-of-4 on the power-play and is 12-of-29 in the last six games. The Blue Devils lost all three games to Stevens Point this season and are 8-12-1 overall and 3-5 in the WIAC … Wisconsin-Eau Claire picked up two wins against Wisconsin-Superior and is in second place in the standings. The 13th-ranked Blugolds topped the Yellowjackets 5-3 both nights. Eau Claire trailed 2-0 early on Saturday, but rallied to stretch its unbeaten streak against Superior to 14 games. Eau Claire is 12-0 when scoring four or more goals in a game. Ross Andersen scored twice to pace the Blugolds, who are 14-5-2 overall and 6-2 in the league. Brandon Wahlin came through with one goal and two assists. Tyler Green improved to 9-3-1 in goal this season as he made 25 saves. Jordan Neduzak tallied two saves for Superior, which is 7-16 overall and 0-10 in the WIAC. Eau Claire and Superior were tied at 3-3 with 18 minutes left in the third on Friday night before Adam Knochenmus scored the game-winner on the power-play. Ross Andersen and Patrick Moore each finished with four points, tallying one goal and three assists apiece. Anton Svensson racked up two goals for the Yellowjackets, who haven’t beaten Eau Claire in Superior since a 3-0 win in November of 2009.

Weekend picks: Feb. 6

131115 UST UWSP M 0200 Weekend picks: Feb. 6

Brandon Jaeger has been solid between the pipes this season for Wisconsin-Stevens Point (photo: Ryan Coleman/d3photography.com).

Our duo is back at it today to pick this weekend’s featured games in Division III.

DAN HICKLING – East

Friday

ECAC EAST
Castleton (7-13-0, 5-8-0) @ No. 1 Norwich (18-2-1, 14-0-0) – Norwich 5, Castleton 2
Castleton is a quality group, but nowhere close to the Cadets class. Come to think of it, who is?

SUNYAC
Morrisville (7-8-5, 5-5-2) @ No. 2 Oswego (13-2-3, 8-1-1) - Oswego 5, Morrisville 0
Both teams can score, but the Lakers can defend. Really defend.

ECAC WEST
Nazareth (10-7-3, 6-2-2) @ Manhattanville (7-9-4, 2-7-1) – Nazareth 4, Manhattanville 2
The Golden Flyers could be heading for a league title in just Year Three of the program’s existance. A two-game road sweep of the Valiants could go a long way toward getting them there.

Saturday

MASCAC
Plymouth State (10-7-3, 10-2-1) @ Fitchburg (8-9-2, 6-5-1) – Plymouth 5, Fitchburg 4
The Panthers are rolling toward the MASCAC title and its Fitchburg’s misfortune to be standing in the way.

NESCAC
No. 4 Trinity (15-2-1, 10-1-1) @ No. 13 Williams (12-4-2, 8-3-1) – Trinity 3, Williams 2
Trinity suffered its first league loss last week (to then-No. 13 Amherst), and if anyone could hand them a second, it would be the Ephs. The guess here is that it won’t happen here.

ECAC NORTHEAST
Becker (4-15-0, 0-8-0) @ Wentworth (9-8-2, 4-3-1) – Becker 4, Wentworth 3
Every Hawk has its day and Saturday may finally be Becker’s.

BRIAN LESTER – West

St. Mary’s is one of the hottest teams in the MIAC and it battles Augsburg this weekend in a key series. The Cardinals are in second place with 19 points and sit at 10-7-2 overall and 5-3-2 in the conference.

Augsburg is right behind the Cardinals with 18 points. The Auggies are 9-10 overall and 6-4 in the league.

Martin Gruse leads St. Mary’s with 15 goals and 14 assists while Phil Heinle has been impressive in goal, fashioning an 8-6-2 record and a 2.23 goals-against average. The Auggies have been led by Mack Ohnstead, who has come through with 10 goals and 10 assists.

This should be a tight home-and-home series. I can see this ending in a split but I’m giving the edge to the Cardinals, who will keep their momentum rolling this weekend. St. Mary’s, 5-3, 4-3.

Other games to watch are below.

St. John’s (9-5-5, 5-3-2 MIAC) vs. Hamline (8-7-4, 4-3-3): It’s a huge series for both teams in terms of playoff contention. St. John’s has 18 points and Hamline has 16.

The Johnnies have won two of three and have scored 51 goals. The Pipers have fallen in three of their last four and have also scored 51 goals this season. I’m predicting a split. St. John’s, 3-2; Hamline, 4-3.

No. 3 Wisconsin-Stevens Point (15-4, 5-1 WIAC) vs. Wisconsin-Stout (8-10-1, 3-3): The Pointers have won their last three and are looking to maintain their lead atop the WIAC standings. With Brandon Jaeger in goal, they should have a great chance of accomplishing that goal. Jaeger is 15-3 on the year and owns a goals against average of 2.26. The Blue Devils are riding a wave of momentum as well. They have won three of four and are led offensively by Justin Moody, who has scored nine goals and dished out seven assists. Stevens Point, 6-4, 5-2.

No. 12 Lake Forest (13-3-5, 11-2-1 NCHA) vs. Milwaukee School of Engineering (13-8, 8-6): The Foresters are in second place in the league standings and will have a shot to move into first with a pair of wins this weekend. The Foresters are one of the hottest teams in the league, winning six in a row, and are led by Jack Lewis, who has scored eight goals and dished out 15 assists.

The Raiders are playing well, too, having won three in a row, and are in fourth place in the standings. Omar Mullan has led the way for MSOE, racking up 13 goals and 16 assists. Look for this series to end in a split. Lake Forest, 5-2; MSOE, 4-3.

Weekend wrap: Feb. 2

adrian cele 1 sized Weekend wrap: Feb. 2

Adrian made a statement last weekend in sweeping then-No. 2 St. Norbert (photo: Dan Hickling).

The action was hot and heavy in Division III last weekend and our esteemed columnists highlight what went down.

ECAC EAST – Having ascended to the nation’s No. 1 ranking, Norwich cemented its standing by taking decisive wins over New England College (6-2) and St. Anselm (4-0). William Pelletier potted a pair of goals (plus an assist) against NEC on Friday, while Austin Surowiec netted two the following night. Freshman goalie Braeden Ostepchuk saw just 11 St. A’s shots, but stopped them all for his third shutout of the season … Massachusetts-Boston notched wins over Skidmore (3-1) and Castleton (4-3 in OT) to strengthen its hold on second place in the East (by three points over Babson). The Beacons erased three different Castleton leads and got the game to overtime on Dan Cornell’s power-play goal with 2:16 remaining in regulation. Matt Lemire then netted the game-winner with just 36 seconds left in overtime.

ECAC NORTHEAST – Nichols remained at the top of a very tight Northeast heap (two points separate the top four teams) with a 6-3 win over last-place Becker. The Bison received goals from five different sources, including two from Brett Jackson, and hold a one-point lead over both Johnson and Wales and Salve Regina … Alan Boozer with 2:45 gone in overtime gave J & W a 3-2 win over fourth-place Suffolk. It was the Rams’ first league loss of the season … Salve kept pace with a 3-2 win over Wentworth. Evan Schmidbauer contributed the game-winner with his fourth goal of the season at 11:10 of the third period.

ECAC WEST – With just six teams, the West is the tiniest conference in the East (that make sense?) So it was that three teams – Hobart, Nazareth, and Utica – all came away from last weekend smiling with two-game sweeps over (respectively) Neumann, Elmira, and Manhattanville. Hobart and the Naz sit atop the league, tied with 14 points, three better than third-place Neumann.

MASCAC – League-leaders Plymouth State maintained its five-point lead over second-place Salem State, after winning its lone start of the weekend, a 6-3 thumping of Westfield State Saturday. Chad Barthelmess tallied twice in the victory and added an assist. Andrew Wigg, who had scored three times for the Panthers in Thursday’s 12-2 obliteration of Framingham State, netted one more against Westfield, giving him 14 overall for the season.

MIAC – Concordia (Minn.) and St. Thomas are still tied atop the conference standings after both earning splits in their respective weekend series. The Cobbers bounced back from a 2-0 loss on Friday night against Hamline to beat the Pipers 4-1 on Saturday. St. Thomas blanked Augsburg 5-0 on Friday and fell 4-3 in the finale. The Cobbers and Tommies have 21 points apiece … In Saturday’s win, Concordia got a huge lift from Jordyn Kaufer, who racked up 28 saves. Tucker Coborn scored two goals to pace the Cobbers and Zach Doerring dished out two assists. Jeremy Johnson and Jordie Bancroft also scored goals. On Friday, the Cobbers were kept off the scoreboard for the first time in 73 games, a stretch that began at the end of the 2011-12 campaign. Joe Rubbelke and Brandon Zurn both scored goals for the Pipers. The Cobbers are 11-7-3 overall and 6-4-2. Hamline dropped to 8-74 overall and 4-3-3 in the league … St. Thomas lost its first conference game of the year on Saturday as Nate Flynn scored the game-winning goal for the Auggies. It was one of three goals Flynn scored in the win as he came through with a hat trick. Drew Anderson tallied two assists for the Auggies, who improved to 9-10 overall and 6-4 in the MIAC. They are just three points out of first place in a tight MIAC race. The Tommies, 12-4-3 overall and 6-2-2 in the league, dominated Friday’s game. Thomas Williams scored twice and Alex Altenbernd, Brian LeBlanc and Tyler Richter also scored goals for the Tommies, who are still unbeaten at home with a 9-0-2 record. The shutout was the 18th of goalie Drew Fielding’s career. He made 22 saves and improved to 9-3-3.

NCHA – As far as statements go, Adrian made one that was loud and clear this weekend, sweeping second-ranked St. Norbert in a crucial conference series. The No. 10 Bulldogs swept the Green Knights, who had not been swept in a road series since 1997 against Alaska-Fairbanks. Adrian won the opener 4-2 and closed the door on the series with a 6-4 victory. Adrian is now all alone in first place with a 15-3-3 overall mark and 12-1-1 record in league play. Kevin Balas scored twice for the Bulldogs, while Duston Hebebrand ended a seven-game drought without a goal. Scott Shackell tallied 27 saves in a game where Adrian held a 37-31 advantage in shots. St. Norbert is 14-4-2 overall and 10-3-1 in the conference. Adrian hit the ice playing inspired on Friday, scoring three goals in the opening period en route to the win. Kyle Brothers fueled the attack as he scored twice in the victory. Daniel Lisi and Jeremy Olinyk also scored goals. Mathew Thompson dished out two assists. Shackell stepped up again in goal as he tallied 35 saves … Northland has had a tough season, but it battled hard in a two-game series with St. Scholastica. The LumberJacks tied the Saints 4-4 in the opening game and skated to a 3-2 win on Saturday. It was the first time in school history that that Northland has beaten St. Scholastica. Logan Millican, Darius Cole and Anthony Stempin all scored goals for the LumberJacks, who ended a three-game winless streak. Michael Berens came through with two assists and esse DiLillo racked up 32 saves. Northland improved to 3-14-4 overall and 3-9-2 in the league. The LumberJacks and Saints battled to a tie in the opener. Northland led 2-1 at the end of one and 4-3 after two periods. Cole scored twice for the LumberJacks and DiLillo racked up 40 saves in a game where the Saints tallied 44 shots compared to just 13 for the LumberJacks. St. Scholastica came out of the weekend at 10-8-3 overall and 7-5-2 in the league.

NESCAC – Trinity remained in first place despite suffering its first league loss, a 3-2 setback to second-place Amherst, Friday. In that tilt, the Lord Jeffs were outshot 35-19, but grabbed a 3-1 lead on goals by Jake Turrin, Mike Rowbotham and Aaron Deutsch. Ethan Holdaway cut the margin to one with 6:39 gone in the third, but the Bantams could come no further. Trinity rebounded the following night with a 6-1 spanking of Hamilton. Elie Vered led the way for the Bantams with a pair of goals … Amherst followed up Friday’s big win with a 6-2 blasting of Wesleyan. David White scored three goals (giving him 11 for the season) for the Jeffs, while Thomas Lindstrom added two more.

SUNYAC – Plattsburgh remained atop the SUNYAC, although the Cardinals split the weekend with a 4-3 win over Brockport, then fell to Geneseo, 3-2. Fueled by three first-period goals by Connor Gorman, Platty surged to a 4-1 opening stanza lead over Brockport on Friday. The Golden Eagles chipped back to within a goal after a pair of tallies by James Ryan. The following night, Plattsburgh grabbed the lead again, 2-0 midway through the third, but this time was unable to hang on, as the Knights rebounded with three unanswered goals, two of them by David Ripple. Ripple notched what proved to be the game-winner at 10:22 of the third … Oswego (17 points) remained in second place, three points back of the Cardinals and have two games in hand to boot. The Lakers won their only start, 7-4 at Cortland Saturday after getting goals from seven different marksmen. Cortland’s Nick Zappia, the nation’s leading scorer (tied with Mass-Boston’s Stephen Buco at 36 points) and goal-getter (with 19), scored twice and added an assist.

WIAC – Wisconsin-Stout pulled off a stunning win on Saturday, knocking off No. 12 Wisconsin-Eau Claire 4-3 on the road. The Blue Devils led 2-0 early and used two goals in third period to pull away for good. Shayne McLaughlin, Justin Moody, Craig Lindegard and Karl Andersen all scored for the Blue Devils, who improved to 8-10-1 overall and 3-3 in the WIAC. Joe Schmitz came through with a pair of assists in the upset. Spencer Viele was the winning goalie as he racked up 48 saves. The Blue Devils have played well lately, and Saturday’s win was their third in the last four games. Eau Claire, 12-5-2 overall, 4-2 in the WIAC, took the opener on Friday, skating to a 5-3 win. Ethan Nauman scored twice for the Blugolds, including a goal in the second period that gave the Blugolds a 4-3 advantage. Preston Hodge played a key role in the offense as he tallied an assist on four of Eau Claire’s goals … Sixth-ranked Wisconsin-River Falls picked up two important wins over the weekend and is in second place in the standings behind Wisconsin-Stevens Point. The Falcons defeated Wisconsin-Superior 3-1 on Friday and finished off the series with a 4-1 win. After winning only once in six games, the Falcons have now won two in a row. Mike Fazio, Taylor Burden, Cory Lushanko and Kyle Gattelaro all scored goals for River Falls, which is 16-4-1 overall and 5-3 in the conference. Gattelaro leads the team in goals with 10. Blake Huppert and Mitch Kotny both tallied assists in the win and pushed their assist totals to seven on the season. River Falls completed a season sweep of the Yellowjackets, winning all three games this season. Mike Williams, Alex Murphy and Gattelaro all scored goals for the Falcons in Friday’s opener. Tanner Milliron came through with 33 saves in a tight game played in front of one of the largest home crowds of the season. The Falcons are 10-2-1 on their home ice this season.

Weekend picks: Jan. 30

mason baptista Weekend picks: Jan. 30

Mason Baptiata has been a catalyst this year for St. Norbert (photo: Nick Patton).

The weekend is finally here and without further ado, here are the picks from Brian and Dan.

BRIAN LESTER – WEST

It won’t get much bigger this weekend than a two-game series between St. Norbert and Adrian. The two nationally-ranked opponents will battle it out with first place in the NCHA on the line.

Both the Green Knights and Bulldogs are 10-1-1 in league play. Second-ranked St. Nobert is 14-2-0 overall and 10th-ranked Adrian is 13-3-3 overall.

St. Norbert is looking to bounce back after a 2-1 loss to the Milwaukee School of Engineering. The defending national champions have scored 90 goals on the season, including 24 off the power-play,

Michael Hill has been the top offensive threat for the Green Knights, scoring 16 goals and dishing out eight assists. Mason Baptista is tied with Hill for the team lead in points, scoring six goals and tallying 18 assists.

St. Norbert does a great job as a team sharing the puck, having racked up 137 assists.

The Green Knights have allowed 25 goals, with David Jacobson playing well in goal. He is 12-1-1 on the year.

Adrian comes in off a 7-3 win over Finlandia and ready to establish itself as the best team in the league. The Bulldogs have scored 84 goals and have allowed 46. Mathew Thompson has been key to the success, scoring 10 goals and dishing out 10 assists. Jeremy Olynik has come through with seven goals and 13 assists.

Scott Shackell has played the majority of time in goal for the Bulldogs. He is 9-1-3 on the season.

Both games should be competitive and entertaining. I find it hard to believe that either team will sweep the series. I’m going with the split in what could very well be a preview of the NCHA championship game. St. Norbert, 6-5; Adrian 5-4.

Other games to check out this weekend are below.

No. 15 Lake Forest (11-3-5, 9-2-1 NCHA) vs. Lawrence (6-12-1, 5-7): The Foresters are in third place in the league and riding a four-game win streak. Luke Swardenski leads an offense that has scored 70 goals. He has tallied 11 on the year. Leo Podolsky has been solid in goal, fashioning a 1.63 goals against average and an 11-2-3 record.

The Vikings have dropped their last two and are hoping to bounce back this weekend. Their defense has struggled as they have allowed 80 goals. During their 1-5 stretch, they have given up four or more goals each time. My money is on the Foresters in this home-and-home series. Lake Forest, 5-2, 6-2.

Gustavus Adolphus (6-7-6, 3-3-4 MIAC) vs. St. John’s (8-5-4, 4-3-1): Gustavus is tied for third in the standings entering the weekend. St. John’s is just two points behind the Gusties in the standings. The Johnnies know a pair of wins would get them right back into the mix for a MIAC championship.

The Gusties have won two of three and have scored 46 goals. But they have given up 49. The Johnnies have racked up 47 goals and have allowed only 38. They come in having lost two of three. This home-and-home series likely ends in a split. St. John’s, 4-3; Gustavus, 3-2.

Hamline (7-6-4, 3-2-3) at Concordia (Minn.) (10-6-3, 5-3-2): The Pipers are in the mix for a playoff berth. They are one of three teams with 13 points and are eager for a shot to knock off the first-place Cobbers.

Kevin Novakovich leads a Hamline offense that has scored 48 goals. He has tallied 10 goals on the season. John Sellie-Hanson owns a 2.60 goals against average and is 6-4-2. The Pipers have lost two in a row and eager to get back on track.

Concordia has no intentions of losing its hold on first place. The Cobbers have won four of five and have scored 58 goals, including 13 by Jordie Bancroft, who has also tallied seven assists.

The Cobbers have a lot riding on this series but Hamline has proven this season that it can compete with anyone. Concordia 5-2, Hamline, 4-3.

Wisconsin-Stout (7-9-1, 2-2 WIAC) at No. 12 Wisconsin-Eau Claire (11-4-2, 3-1): The Blugolds are on a roll and still very much alive in the hunt for a WIAC championship. Eau Claire has won seven of eight and has scored four or more goals in each of those wins.

Eau Claire has scored 64 goals in all, including 14 by Ethan Nauman. Ross Andersen has tallied 11 goals. Tyler Green and Jay Deo have both proven they can step up on any given night in goal.

Stout has played well lately, winning five of their last six, and they won’t be a pushover this weekend. The Blue Devils have given up 63 goals and their defense will have to be on point to have a chance against the Blugolds. I think Eau Claire will keep its momentum rolling in the right direction. Eau Claire, 5-3, 4-2.

Wisconsin-Superior (7-12, 0-6) at No. 6 Wisconsin-River Falls (14-4-1, 3-3): River Falls has struggled this month, winning only once in six games. The Falcons have dropped two in a row and need to get back on track in a hurry to stay in the running for a WIAC title.

The Falcons have tallied 62 goals and if they can click offensively against the Yellowjackets, they should have no problem picking up a couple of important conference wins at home.

The Yellowjackets have lost their last five and need to shore up their defense to be competitive against the Falcons. Superior has allowed 55 goals this year while scoring 52. In the end, River Falls finds a way to get the job done. River Falls, 6-3, 5-2.

DAN HICKLING – EAST

Friday

ECAC EAST
New England College (7-9-4, 4-7-2) @ No. 1 Norwich (16-2-1, 12-0-0) – Norwich 4, NEC 1
History has shown at times that ascension to the top ranking can be the first step to a fall. Such should not be the case for the Cadets, who are playing the best hockey right now. You’ll probably get NEC’s best game, too, but it likely won’t be enough.

SUNYAC
Brockport (9-7-1, 4-4-1) @ No. 8 Plattsburgh (13-4-1, 9-1-0) – Platty 2, Brockport 1
Could be something of a “trap game” for Plattsburgh, who will have to be wary of the rapidly improving Golden Eagles. Brockport would love to strengthen its hold on a first-round home ice spot, but with just points separating teams three through eight in the SUNYAC, one bad weekend can wreck everything.

ECAC NORTHEAST
Becker (4-13-2, 0-6-0) @ Nichols (12-3-2, 4-1-1) – Becker 3, Nichols 2
Is an upset here likely? Well, no. But on any given Friday …

Saturday

MASCAC
Worcester St. (3-11-2, 2-7-1) @ Salem St. (9-8-1, 6-5-0) – Salem 5, Worcester 2
Picked for tops in the MASCAC, the Vikings have been glaring middle-of-the-packers to now. No better time for them to start sorting things out although cellar-dwelling Worcester won’t make it easy for them.

NESCAC
No. 3 Trinity (14-1-1, 9-0-1) @ No. 11 Williams (11-3-2, 7-2-1) – Williams 4, Trinity 3
The country’s marquee matchup featuring the top two teams in NESCAC. Nobody is hotter than the Bantams, winners of 10 in a row, but if anyone can cool ‘em off, it just might be those Phitin’ Ephs.

ECAC WEST
Utica (8-6-4, 1-5-2) @ Manhattanville (7-7-4, 2-5-1) – Utica 5, Manhattanville 3
You know what’s bizarre? That all six teams in the West are .500 or better, overall. So why does it seem like a lost season for both these would-be contenders, who currently occupy the final two spots in the standings? Grabbing four points in this two-game set could go a long way toward getting one of these teams straightened out.

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