For those who are fans of the hero types who vanquish the bad guys with an assortment of skill, perseverance and some cool gadgets, this past weekend saw the releases of the latest installments of two such characters who just know how to get things done and restore “world order:” The latest James Bond (“Skyfall”) movie and Dirk Pitt novel (Clive Cussler’s “Poseidon’s Arrow”) both have protagonists who rise to the occasion despite any and all circumstances, and so too do the traditionally best teams in men’s D-III hockey, as evidenced by this past weekend’s action.
After St. Norbert’s tough loss to Gustavus Adolphus last week, Tim Coghlin’s crew looked to right things with a weekend series against previous unbeaten Wisconsin-River Falls. After falling behind 1-0 in the first period, the Green Knights reeled off seven unanswered goals and went a perfect four-for-four on the power play in posting a 7-1 win to open the weekend series. Cody Keefer (two goals), Kyle Stroh (one goal, two assists) and Sam Higgins (three assists) paced an offense where 13 players had points. On Saturday night, St. Norbert completed the sweep with a 4-0 win where goalie David Jacobson recorded the shutout with 22 saves.
In the ECAC East, Norwich looked to play a more complete game than its opening night win against in-state rival St. Michael’s. Hosting Southern Maine on Friday night, the Cadets used two goals apiece from Tory Allan and Gerard McLane to post a convincing 6-0 win. On Saturday night, Norwich pasted last week’s upset winner, University of New England, by a 7-1 score. Norwich’s first two lines (1 & 1A) accounted for 16 points on the night, as the Cadets converted seven times on just 27 shots for a win that moved them to their usual perch atop the conference standings.
In the MCHA, Adrian played host to Milwaukee School of Engineering in a weekend series with both schools off to good starts to the season. On Friday night, the Bulldogs won a see-saw battle by a score of 4-2. After opening a two-goal lead in the first period, MSOE answered in the second to tie the game. Just over a minute into the third period, Adrian’s Zach Graham scored the game winner with Chris Leone adding an empty-net goal for the final tally. On Saturday night, MSOE opened the game aggressively and took a 1-0 lead over the Bulldogs to the locker room after the first period. Adrian then scored five straight goals in the second and third periods to support the strong goaltending of Scott Shackell, who made 33 saves in posting his third win of the season.
In the SUNYAC conference, unbeaten Plattsburgh made its tour of western New York State and came away with two wins to stay tied atop the standings with Oswego. On Friday night, the Cardinals outshot Buffalo State, 47-20, but needed four goals in the third period to break open a close game on the way to a 6-1 victory. On Saturday night, the Cardinals were led by Kevin Emmerling’s hat trick and goaltender Mathieu Cadieux’s 22 saves in shutting out Fredonia.
Elsewhere, Wisconsin Eau-Claire went 2-0-0 on the weekend with a sweep of St. Scholastica by scores of 5-1 and 7-5 to go to a perfect 6-0-0 on the season. Isaiah Bennis had four goals and a pair of assists for the Blugolds in the two wins over the Saints.
In the ECAC Northeast, Curry earned new coach TJ Manastersky his first win with a 5-3 decision over Becker. Connor Hendry completed the hat trick for the Colonels while playing short-handed at the end of the second period. In fact, two of Hendry’s goals came on the penalty kill, including the game-winner.
Last year’s MASCAC champion and NCAA tournament team Plymouth State opened play on Thursday night with a 5-1 win at home against nonconference opponent Stonehill. Travis Stevens led the Panthers with a goal and two assists.
In the MIAC conference, St. Thomas took two very close games over St. John’s by scores of 4-2 and 3-0 (including two empty-net goals) to move to 3-1-1 on the season and 2-0-0 in the conference. Goaltender Tyrone Simcoe made 18 saves for the shutout and his first victory of the season on Saturday night.