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College Hockey:
MCHA/MIAC/NCHA picks: March 2

This is what the players and coaches have worked for all season.

Four teams are left in the MCHA and have gathered in Adrian, Mich. to play for the Harris Cup. Lawrence and Adrian will begin play on Saturday afternoon, while Marian and Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) will play in the nightcap. The two victors will play Sunday afternoon for the Harris Cup.

The MIAC tournament final will feature No. 4 seed St. Olaf at No. 2 seed Gustavus Adolphus Saturday.  St. Olaf skated past Hamline, then upset No. 1 seed St. Thomas to make it to the title game. Gustavus beat St. John’s in the other semifinal game.

In the NCHA, St. Norbert will be vying for its fourth Peters Cup in five seasons, while Wisconsin-Stevens Point is making its first title game appearance in 12 seasons.

I went 3-3 last week, which makes my season record 52-36, a .709 percentage.

{Predicted winners bolded}

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Wis.-Stevens Point at St. Norbert
No. 15 Wis.-Stevens Point and No. 5 St. Norbert have met three times this season. Wis.-Stevens Point won the first game in October by a score of 5-1 at Willett Arena in Stevens Point. Kyle Heck had a hat trick for Wis.-Stevens Point in the game. The following night, St. Norbert evened the series back home at the Cornerstone Community Center with a 4-1 win. Four different players scored for St. Norbert, including NCHA Player of the Year Johan Ryd. The teams did not meet again until February, when St. Norbert came away with an 8-3 win again at home. Once again St. Norbert had a balanced scoring attack, as eight different players contributed to the goal scoring.

In St. Norbert’s last three games, it has eight goals in 14 power-play opportunities, including going five-for-nine against Wis.-Stevens Point on Feb. 9. Ryd leads St. Norbert in scoring with 34 points, followed by Kyle Stroh with 26 points and Cullen Bradshaw with 25 points. David Jacobson has played the most minutes in goal, with a 1.72 goals against average and a .928 save percentage. He also has three shutouts on the season.

Heck leads Wis.-Stevens Point with 28 points and 20 goals. He is the first player to score 20 goals for Wis.-Stevens Point since Mike Brolsma accomplished the task in the 2001-02 season. Luke Nesper and Chad Boeckman each have 18 points on the season. Brandon Jaeger has a 1.96 goals against average and an .895 save percentage on the season.

St. Olaf at Gustavus Adolphus
No. 11 Gustavus and St. Olaf met just two weeks ago at the end of the MIAC regular season. Gustavus took three-of-four points in the home-and-home series, but had to come from behind in both games. Adam Smyth had three goals in the series for Gustavus that secured a No. 2 seed for the tournament.

Ross Ring-Jarvi leads Gustavus in scoring with 28 points. Zach May is the second-leading scorer with 20 points. Smyth leads the team with 14 goals and has 18 points. Ryan Johnson and Andy Pearson have also added 18 points on the season. John McLean has started the most games in goal for Gustavus. He has 2.13 goals against average and a .922 save percentage.

Peter Rohn and Charlie Raskob lead St. Olaf offensively. Rohn has 24 points and leads the team in goals with 11. Raskob has 23 points and leads the team with 17 assists.

The big mystery is who will start in goal for St. Olaf? Ben Leis played the most for St. Olaf during the season. He has a .925 save percentage and 2.30 goals against average on the season, but he was replaced at the start of the second period against Hamline after giving up two first period goals. Steve Papciak replaced him and St. Olaf went on to defeat Hamline, 3-2. Papciak started against St. Thomas as St. Olaf came back to defeat the conference champions, 4-3.

Lawrence at Adrian
Since joining the MCHA, No. 6 Adrian has never lost to Lawrence, compiling a 12-0-0 record. In its lone series this season in January, Adrian swept Lawrence. Both games were 3-2 victories. The first game saw Adrian build a 3-0 lead after two periods before Lawrence scored twice in the third to make things interesting. The next day saw the teams exchange leads before a third period goal put the game away for Adrian. Seven of the 10 goals in the series were scored on the power play.

Adrian’s leading scorer is Zach Graham, who has 39 points on the year, which is eighth-best in the nation. Josh Cousineau has 30 points, while Chris Stansik has 29 points. Scott Shackell and James Hamby have split goal duties this season. Both allow less than three goals a game and have save percentages over .900.

Brad Scurfield leads Lawrence in scoring with 31 points. Matt Hughes is the leading goal scorer with 15, and has 26 points on the season. Phil Bushbacher has 25 points on the season. Peter Emery has been the main goaltender, posting a 2.38 goals against average and a .924 save percentage.

Marian vs. MSOE
In their only series this season, Marian swept MSOE. The home-and-home series saw Marian score three goals in the third period at Milwaukee to win, 4-2. The following game saw Marian score two more goals in third to win 4-3. In both games, Marian did not allow MSOE to score in the final 20 minutes.

Marian is led offensively by Dakota Dubetz, who has 34 points on the season. Brian Berger is the leading goal scorer with 17, and has totaled 27 points. Brendan Roberts has 23 points on the year. Josh Baker is the main goaltender. He has a 3.12 goals against average and a .902 save percentage.

MSOE’s offense is headed up by the Keizer brothers. Older brother Jordan is the nation’s second-leading scorer with 43 points. He leads the country with seven short-handed goals on the season. Younger brother Josh has 29 points on the season. Todd Krupa also has 29 points for MSOE. In goal is Connor Toomey, who has set most of MSOE’s career goaltending records. This season he has a 1.97 goals against average and has three shutouts on the season.

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