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.