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Weekend picks: Jan. 16

Soley1 Weekend picks: Jan. 16

Saxton Soley will need to be strong between the pipes this weekend as St. John’s plays a pair with Concordia (Minn.).

Our venerable columnist team of Dan Hickling and Brian Lester is back at it with their weekend picks for the top games across men’s Division III.

DAN HICKLING – EAST

Friday

NESCAC
Tufts (5-6-1, 2-3-1) @ Hamilton (3-5-4, 2-3-2) – Hamilton 5, Tufts 3
With both teams scuffling in the middle of the NESCAC pack, this clash could come down to who is better able to avoid giving up scoring chances. This is where Hamilton could have the edge.

ECAC East
New England College (5-7-3, 3-5-1) @ No. 6 Babson (12-2-1, 7-1-0) – Babson 2, NEC 0
The Beavers (1-2-1 since the break) are looking to pull out of their mini-skid. NEC has played its best hockey of the season of late, but will be hard pressed to get anything past Babson goalie Jamie Murray.

Saturday

MASCAC
Salem St. (6-7-1, 3-5-0) @ Framingham St. (2-9-2, 1-6-1) – Framingham 4, Salem 2
Until the preseason fave Vikings figure themselves out, teams will sneak up on them. Conditions could be right for a Ram upset.

ECAC West
Manhattanville (6-5-3, 1-3-1) @ Utica (7-5-3, 0-4-1) – Utica 5, Manhattanville 3
The lone conference tilt of the weekend. Both teams have feasted on non-league foes but have been woeful within the league. It seems early, but with a stretch run ready to roll out, this could actually be called a “must-win” game.

Nonconference
Nichols (10-2-2) @ Morrisville (4-6-5) – Nichols 6, Morrisville 5
On paper this appears to be a mismatch, but you ever try skating on a notebook? Morrisville has enough firepower to give anybody fits, but perhaps not enough to outgun the Bison, the 10th-ranked offense (4.07 gpg) in the land.

BRIAN LESTER – WEST

Conference play heats up this week in the West Region and there is no bigger game than the WIAC battle between Wisconsin-River Falls and Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

The two nationally-ranked opponents square off tonight in Stevens Point. The seventh-ranked Pointers (11-3) have won six of seven and have racked up 62 goals while allowing only 34. Joe Kalisz leads the way on offense with 11 goals.

In the net, Brandon Jaeger has gone 11-2 and will need to be at his best against a River Falls team that is explosive on offense. Jaeger owns a goals against average of 2.16.

The fourth-ranked Falcons (13-1-1) have racked up 53 goals and have given up 26. Christian George leads the attack with seven goals. Tanner Milliron has been solid in goal, fashioning a 12-1-1 record. His GAA is 1.73.

This is a game that could easily be decided by defense. The team that takes care of business on that end of the ice will prevail. I’m going with the Pointers this time around. Stevens Point, 5-4.

Below are a few other predictions for the weekend ahead.

No. 14 St. John’s (7-3-4, 4-1-1 MIAC) at Concordia (Minn.) (7-5-3, 2-2-2): The Johnnies own first place at the moment in the MIAC and they want to make sure they don’t lose their grip on it. St. John’s has tremendous balance as eight players have scored at least three goals. Combine that with the talented Saxton Soley in goal, and you have a team that has the ability to go on the road and win a big series.

Concordia has proven it can win big games as well and this series is a chance for the Cobbers to make a statement in league play. The Cobbers have a high-scoring team as well, tallying 46 goals on the year, including 12 by Jordie Bancroft. This should be a great weekend series and I’m guessing the two teams split. St. John’s, 4-3; Concordia, 3-2.

St. Olaf (3-9-2, 2-3-1) vs. Hamline (5-4-4, 1-0-3): This series features two teams in the middle of the standings, but both are certainly poised to make a move in the right direction.

The Oles are looking for their first win in 2015. If they are going to find it this weekend in a home-and-home series with the Pipers, they need to get the job done on defense. St. Olaf has allowed 44 goals on the year. Goalie Steve Papciak is 3-8-2 with a 2.75 GAA.

The Pipers are a different team than they were a year ago and are riding the high of an impressive 5-4 win over nationally ranked Stevens Point. If they bring that same type of effort to the rink this weekend, they could come away with two big wins. The Pipers have scored 37 goals in all and John Sellie-Hanson is 4-2-2 as a goalie this season. But with the MIAC being so competitive, I’m guessing this one ends in a split. Hamline, 4-2; St. Olaf, 4-3.

No. 12 Wisconsin-Eau Claire (9-3-2) at St. Thomas (7-3-3): The Tommies received votes in last week’s national poll. A win over the Blugolds might just propel them into the poll.

The Tommies have won three in a row, including a big win over River Falls, and feature one of the top goalies in the game in Drew Fielding. Fielding is 6-3-3 and owns a goals against average of 1.31. If he plays well again, the Tommies will be tough to beat.

Eau Claire is on a roll as well. The Blugolds have won five in a row, stepping up on defense as well during the win streak. Tyler Green and Jay Deo have seen the majority of time in goal while the offense has cranked out 53 goals. This one should be a classic between two of the nation’s best teams. St. Thomas, 3-2.

No. 8 Adrian (11-2-2, 8-0 NCHA) at St. Scholastica (8-6-1, 5-3): The Bulldogs head out on the road and are looking to get back on track. They have just one win in their last four games. The good news is they are tough to beat on the road, fashioning a 5-0-1 record away from home. Matthew Thompson (nine goals) and Josh Ranalli (nine goals) lead an offense that has scored 72 goals, including 21 off the power play.

The Saints have struggled as of late as well, winning only two of their last six. Having this series at home could be huge as St. Scholastica is 5-0 at home this season. Derek Sutliffe anchors the offense with eight goals. The Saints have scored 50 goals this season. Adrian, 4-2, 5-3.

Milwaukee School of Engineering (9-6, 4-4) vs. Lawrence (5-9-1, 4-4): The Raiders have won their last three and have a chance to move into the top four in the standings with a couple of wins in this home-and-home series.

Omar Mullan has been sensational for the Raiders, scoring 10 goals and dishing out 14 assists. His ability to make plays will give the Raiders a great shot to come away with a sweep in the series.

The Vikings have struggled, dropping their last five, finding it difficult to score goals during the slide. Players like Brendan Vetter (five goals) and Ryan Rumble (five goals) have to be able to make plays to give Lawrence a shot at victory. I think the Raiders keep rolling. MSOE, 5-2, 4-2.

Weekend wrap: Jan. 12

kevin novokovich hamline Weekend wrap: Jan. 12

Kevin Novakovich’s Hamline squad upset No. 6 Wisconsin-Stevens Point last weekend.

The action was hot and heavy last weekend around Division III and our columnists recap all the highlights.

BRIAN LESTER – WEST

MIAC – Hamline sent shockwaves through the Division III hockey world on Saturday, stunning sixth-ranked Wisconsin-Stevens Point 5-4 in one of the biggest wins in program history. The Pipers scored three goals in the final period to earn the win and improve to 5-4-4 on the season. Brandon Reinholz scored a goal and dished out two assists, while John Sellie-Hanson came off the bench early in the third period and earned the win. The Pipers and Pointers were tied at 2-2 at the end of two periods. Brandon Zurn’s goal secured the win. Hamline won despite being outshot 39-28. The Pipers skated to a 5-5 tie against Lake Forest on Friday and have yet to lose a game in the new year … St. Thomas became the first team to beat Wisconsin-River falls this season, blanking the fourth-ranked Falcons 3-0 on Friday. The Tommies scored twice in the opening period behind goals from Michael Dockery and Jeremy Hepler. Bobby Murphy also scored in the win, while Drew Fielding nailed down the win with 18 saves. St. Thomas held River Falls in check on the power play, forcing the Falcons to come up empty on all six opportunities. The Tommies capped their big weekend with a 1-0 win over Marian, marking their third consecutive victory. Tyler Richter scored the lone goal for the Tommies, who improved to 7-3-3 overall and are 5-0-2 at home this year….No. 15 St. John’s rolled to a 6-2 win over Lawrence on Sunday. John Haeg scored the 90th point of his career on a goal in the first period that put the Johnnies up 1-0. Haeg also tallied three assists and is just seven points away from becoming the 21st player in school history to get to 100 career points. Saxton Soley made 32 saves and improved to 6-2-4 on the year. The Johnnies are 7-3-4 after earning their first win since early December.

NCHA – St. Norbert rallied two different times against Concordia (Minn.) on Friday and pulled away for a 6-3 nonconference win. The Green Knights, ranked second in the nation, trailed 2-0 and 3-2 before securing the victory. The Green Knights improved to 11-1-2. Ross Pavek’s power-play goal gave St. Norbert the lead for good in the third period. Cullen Bradshaw finished with a goal and two assists, while Mason Baptista and Sam Higgins tallied two assists apiece. Bradshaw’s goal tied the score at 3-3 after two periods. David Jacobson earned the win in goal, the 72nd of his career, which moves him into third all-time in career wins by a Division III goaltender. St. Norbert scored twice off the power play while Concordia was 0-for-5 … The Milwaukee School of Engineering edged Wisconsin-Superior on Saturday to complete a perfect weekend. The win was the third in a row for the Raiders, who blanked Wisconsin-Stout 6-0 on Friday night. Cody Ganchar, Casey Moneer and Gage Christianson all scored goals for the Raiders, who own a 9-6 record. Ganchar and Christianson both scored off the power play. Austin Campbell made 33 saves and won his third game of the year. On Friday night, the Raiders earned their second consecutive shutout. It marked the first time in school history that MSOE has ever blanked two opponents in a row. Ganchar and Jerad Tafoya both came through with hat tricks in the win. Each player scored two of their goals on the power play. Nick Kohn earned the fifth shutout of his career and won for the sixth time this season.

WIAC – Stout ended a three-game losing streak on Saturday with an 8-5 win over Concordia (Wis.). The Blue Devils led 3-1 after one period before both teams combined for eight goals in a wild second period. Each team scored four goals in the period. Justin Moody scored twice for the Blue Devils, who improved to 3-8-1 one night after getting blanked by the Milwaukee School of Engineering. Moody also tallied an assist in the win. Joey Haydock, Jordan Tredinnick and Jake Useldinger all tallied a goal and an assist, while Derek Sand and Riley Colvard came through with two assists apiece. Spencer Viele earned the win in goal … Wisconsin-Eau Claire played its first game of the new year, ringing it in with a 5-3 win over Marian. The No. 13 Blugolds are 5-1 lifetime against the Panthers. This was the first meeting between the two schools since 2009. Jake Callahan, Patrick Moore, Jeff Pauluk, Ross Andersen and Ethan Nauman all scored goals for the Blugolds. Eau Claire won despite being outshot 32-26. Goalie Tyler Green won his fifth game of the season. The Blugolds capped their weekend with a with a 4-1 win over Augsburg. It was the second time this season that the Blugolds have beaten the Auggies. Eau Claire is 12-0-2 against schools from the MIAC since Jan. 12 of last year. Callahan, Andersen, Jake Davidson and Preston Hodge all scored for the Blugolds, who improved to 9-3-2. Hodge’s power-play goal marked the fifth consecutive game where Eau Claire has scored at least one goal with the man-advantage. The Blugolds haven’t allowed a power-play goal since November, killing off 32 consecutive opportunities. Jay Deo earned the win in goal, his fourth of the season. The Blugolds have won their last five games.

DAN HICKLING – EAST

ECAC EAST – The marquee matchup in the conference – yeah, even in the entire country – took place on Saturday when No. 1 Norwich hosted No. 4 Babson. The contest lived up to the hype, and then some, as the Cadets eked out a 3-2 overtime win, thanks to William Pelletier’s tally (his eighth of the year) with just 27 seconds remaining in the extra session. The Beavers came within six seconds of pulling off a 2-1 upset, but Dean Niezgoda netted the equalizer for Norwich as time was running out. Norwich outshot the Beavers 49-19. … The night before, Norwich handed Massachusetts-Boston its first conference loss, 6-3, thanks in part to Anthony Flaherty’s two tallies.

ECAC NORTHEAST – Activity was light during the weekend, with five teams hitting the ice, each playing one nonconference tilt. The Northeast’s lone winners were Nichols (9-5 over Assumption) and Johnson & Wales (3-2 over Potsdam). Sean Swansen scored twice to lead the way for Nichols, while Stefan Brucato scored with 1:18 remaining to lift J&W to its triumph.

ECAC WEST – All action was out of conference, with the two-game set between Fredonia and Neumann providing some interesting moments. Fredonia took Friday’s opener, 4-2, giving the Blue Devils their second road win of the season. The Knights rebounded the following night with a 2-1 overtime win, with Anthony Pino providing the winning goal at 2:31. … Hobart came within a whisker of pulling off a road sweep of SUNYAC foes. On Friday, the Statesmen dropped a 5-4 count to the fifth-ranked Lakers, after having spotted them a 4-0 second period lead. The following night, Hobart used a run of four unanswered goals to shock Geneseo, 7-4. Brad Robbins (2g, 2a) paced the Statesmen attack.

MASCAC – Just three conference tilts were staged, most notably Saturday win by Plymouth State, 3-2, over visiting Salem State. The first-place Panthers got goals from Ian McGilvrey, Chad Barthelmess and Tord Thoresen to support the 28-save effort by goaltender Gordon Caesar.

NESCAC – The top four teams in the conference – Trinity, Williams, Amherst and Bowdoin – all of them nationally-ranked, saw plenty of action, with the No. 14 Lord Jeffs enjoying a twin-win weekend. On Friday, Amherst downed Colby, 5-1, then defeated No. 11 Bowdoin, 4-2. … Co-leaders (with Williams) Trinity, ranked No. 10, also won twice, having taken down Middlebury, 3-1 before squeaking past No. 12 Williams, 3-2. In that one, Tyler Whitney scored with 21 seconds remaining in regulation to give the Ephs the win.

SUNYAC – Plenty of nonconference action on the weekend, with the most eye-popping result coming from Oswego, where the No. 5 Lakers were surprised by the 4-3 loss hung on them by sub-.500 Southern New Hampshire. The Lakers trailed 4-1 midway through the third, but made a game of it on late goals by Shawn Hulshof (his 10th) and Alex Botten (his sixth). … Buffalo State notched a gutsy, 3-2 overtime win at Nazareth, with Jason Zaleski netting the clinching goal at 3:41. The Bengals, which started off a dismal 1-6-2, are now 4-2-0 since freshman goalie Ian Sylves moved into the crease. … Likewise, Brockport, which struggled to a 2-5-1 start, has turned its season around, having won six straight, including Saturday’s 5-3 count at Elmira.

Weekend picks: Jan. 9

tyler brickler geneseo Weekend picks: Jan. 9

Can Geneseo and Tyler Brickler get past Hobart this weekend? (photo: Dan Hickling)

The second half is in full swing and our columnists prognosticate the weekend yet again across Division III.

EAST – DAN HICKLING

Friday

MASCAC – Massachusetts-Dartmouth (2-8-2, 2-2-2) @ Worcester State (2-8-2, 1-4-1) – UMD 5, Worcester 3
The Corsairs, with Casey Shea, Jaret Babych and Shaun Walters, et al, can do a better job of putting pucks in than Worcester can of keeping them out.

ECAC East – No. 8 Massachusetts-Boston (10-1-1, 6-0-0) @ No. 1 Norwich (11-1-0, 7-0-0) – Norwich 3, UMB 1
Each is smarting (at least a little) from sustaining its first (nonconference) loss, but both are still perfect in the ECACE. Something’s got to give, there, and the guess is that the top ranked team in the country will prevail at home.

NESCAC – Colby (3-6-2, 0-4-2) @ No. 14 Amherst (7-2-2, 3-2-0) – Amherst 6, Colby 2
The Lord Jeffs are too talented and too motivated to make a run through the NESCAC for Colby to handle.

Saturday

Nonconference – Hobart (8-4-0) @ Geneseo (6-4-2) – Geneseo 4, Hobart 3
This could amount to a tough weekend for the Statesmen, who visit No. 5 Oswego the night before. It’s hard to believe, but Genny is just 2-3-0 at the Ira this year. This would be a fine time for the Ice Knights to finally make home ice work to their advantage.

Nonconference – Tufts (4-6-1) @ Suffolk (8-3-1) – Suffolk 2, Tufts 0
The Jumbos have shown they can knock off a top team (just ask No. 10 Bowdoin). And Suffolk, which has dropped three of its last four, needs to find its way again. At least Tufts won’t have to endure any perilous bus rides.

WEST – BRIAN LESTER

Another weekend of hockey has arrived, and once again, there are a lot crossover games in the West Region.

One of the marquee matchups features unbeaten and fourth-ranked Wisconsin-River Falls taking its act on the road to play MIAC power St. Thomas.

The Tommies (5-3-3) are unbeaten at home (3-0-2) but are playing their first game since mid-December. Alex Altenbernd leads St. Thomas in goals with six and Jordan Lovick is the leader in assists, tallying eight. Drew Fielding has started nine games in goal this year and owns a 4-3-3 record. His play will be key to success against the Falcons.

River Falls (13-0) won’t be easy to stop. They have scored 52 goals, with six players scoring five or more goals. Christian George is healthy again and leads the way with seven. Tanner Milliron has been solid between the pipes as the Falcons have allowed only 22 goals all season. Even though River Falls is on the road, it gets the edge. River Falls 4-2.

No. 6 Wisconsin-Stevens Point (10-2) at Augsburg (6-5): The Auggies have been off for more than a month and will look to start off 2015 right as they host the Pointers. Mark Ohsntead has fueled the Auggies’ offensive attack, tallying eight goals and six assists. The Auggies have scored 38 goals in all, including eight off the power play, and they will need a strong offensive performance to have a shot at upsetting the Pointers.

The Pointers have won five consecutive games, including a victory over then No. 1 St. Norbert, and they will be looking to build on their momentum. Their offense has produced 56 goals, with Joe Kalisz leading the way. He has tallied nine goals and five assists. Brandon Jaeger is 10-2 as a starter this year. This one should go the Pointers’ way. Stevens Point, 5-2.

No. 2 St. Norbert (10-1-1) at Concordia (Minn.) (6-4-3): The Cobbers are playing their first game of the new year this weekend as well and they will have the advantage of being at home against the defending national champions. Andrew Deters has been phenomenal, scoring seven goals and dishing out seven assists. Jon Grebosky has tallied six goals. Their play will go a long way in determining the Cobbers’ success against a St. Norbert team that suffered a rare home loss last weekend.

The Green Knights come in looking for a bounce-back win. Michael Hill leads St. Norbert with 12 goals and Erik Cooper has tallied nine goals. The Green Knights have scored 68 goals in all while David Jacobson has made 10 starts in goal and owns an 8-0-1 record. I think St. Norbert gets the edge. St. Norbert, 4-1.

Lake Forest (7-3-3) at Hamline (4-4-3): This will be a good test for the Pipers, who have certainly made strides since last season. The Pipers have been led by Kevin Novakovich, who has scored six goals. Brandon Zurn has struck for six goals as well. John Sellie Hanson has started eight games in goal and owns a 3-2-1 record. A win in this game would serve as a huge boost of confidence for the Pipers going forward.

The Foresters received seven votes in this week’s poll and another win would put them closer to cracking the top 15. Lake Forest has been led by Luke Swardenski, who has come through with eight goals and three assists. Jack Lewis leads the team in assists with 11 and goalie Leo Podolsky has started 12 times, fashioning a 7-2-3 record. If Lake Forest plays up to its potential, it will prevail. Lake Forest, 3-2.

Weekend wrap: Jan. 5

McLean GAC sized Weekend wrap: Jan. 5

John McLean made 23 saves, but Gustavus Adolphus fell to No. 14 Williams last Friday night (photo: Laura Westphal/SportPix)

And the men’s Division III games kicked off in high gear this past weekend.

Yeah, a Happy New Year indeed!

Let’s see what happened at rinks across the East and West.

WEST – BRIAN LESTER

MIAC – Gustavus Adolphus didn’t start off the New Year the way it had hoped it would, falling 3-2 to No. 14 Williams on Friday night in a nonconference game. The Gusties, in the midst of an eight-game winless streak, went into the third period tied at 2-2 with the Ephs. A power-play goal by George Hunkele wiped out their hopes for a win. Blake Schammel scored his team-leading fifth goal of the year. Connor Deal also scored a goal for Gustavus, which fell to 5-5. Gustavus held a 27-26 advantage in shots and John McLean made 23 saves…Nick Marsh scored a goal for the second consecutive game, but St. Olaf fell 3-1 to nationally-ranked Williams on Saturday. The Ephs led 3-0 before Marsh put the Oles on the board. The goal was Marsh’s second of the season. The Oles were outshot 30-28 and Steve Papciak made 27 saves. St. Olaf remains winless on the season when giving up three or more goals in a game. St. Olaf lost for the third time in its last five games and has won only once since Nov. 22. The Oles are 3-9-1 on the season.

NCHA – St. Scholastica struck for nine goals in a 9-2 win over Tufts in the consolation game of the Pathfinder Bank Oswego Classic on Saturday. It marked the fourth consecutive season where the Saints have scored at least nine goals in a game. St. Scholastica owned a 33-22 edge in shots and seven players scored in the victory, including two goals apiece by Luke Simpson and Derek Sutliffe. Dylan Nowakowski dished out three assists. Corey Koop earned the win, notching 20 saves, helping the Saints improve to 8-5-0 on the year. The Saints lost 4-3 in overtime to Nazareth on Friday night after letting a 2-1 lead slip away. Steven Phee scored twice and Nowakowski tallied two assists. Tyler Bruggeman made 32 saves…Lake Forest topped Hamilton 5-3 in its first game in the Codfish Bowl at Massachusetts-Boston. The Forresters scored three goals in the third period to secure the victory. Billy Kent scored twice in the period and Bobby Barrett tallied two assists in the third. Jimmy Cusan also scored a goal in the third as the Forresters won their fifth consecutive game and improved to 7-3-2 on the year. Leo Podolsky racked up 37 saves on a day when Hamilton held a 40-28 advantage in shots.

WIAC – Wisconsin-Stevens Point would have loved to beat St. Norbert in the national championship game last season, but the No. 8 Pointers will certainly savor Saturday’s 6-5 win over the top-ranked Green Knights on the road. In last season’s title game, the Pointers fell 3-1 to the Green Knights. Stevens Point (10-2) scored three times in the second period to take a 4-1 lead. St. Norbert (10-1-1) rallied to tie the game at 4-4 before goals from Scott Henegar and Joe Kalisz pushed Stevens Point in front 6-4. Kalisz scored twice for the Pointers, who have won their last five games. Michael Hill punched in two goals for the Green Knights. The Pointers won despite being outshot 39-23. Brandon Jaeger earned the win in goal….Fourth-ranked Wisconsin-River Falls remained unbeaten after a 3-1 win over Aurora on Saturday. The Falcons are now 13-0 after Christian George scored twice off the power play and Tanner Milliron racked up 20 saves. Milliron has earned the win in every game this year. River Falls trailed 1-0 after the first period, but George tied the game at 1-1 and eventually gave the Falcons a 2-1 lead as he scored his seventh goal of the year. River Falls held a 27-21 advantage in shots and improved to 8-0 at home. On Friday, River Falls edged Aurora 4-3, setting a program record for consecutive wins as it ran its win streak to 12 games. George scored twice in the win.

EAST – DAN HICKLING

They rang in the New Year in the same way they rang out the old – with a slate of nonconference tilts.

The East’s D-III action was largely confined to participation in annual holiday tournaments. The results, particularly for the bevy of nationally-ranked teams that skated (all except No. 11 Bowdoin), were mighty interesting.

Norwich, ranked No. 2 (in the most recent poll) proved to be less than hospitable holiday hosts in its own, Northfield Savings Bank Holiday tourney. The Cadets captured the crown for the 11th time in the tourney’s 16-year run with a 4-1 triumph over Buffalo State in Saturday’s championship game. William Pelletier popped in two goals and helped on another, one day after garnering a goal and an assist in a 3-0 win over Colby. In that one, goalie Ty Reichenbach stopped 21 White Mules shots for the shutout.

No. 3 Babson skated once, and it resulted in the Beavers’ first blemish on its previously spotless record, a 2-2 overtime tie at Plymouth State. Babson had gone a perfect 11-0-0 to start the season, and might have made it an even dozen except for stellar work from PSU goalie Gordon Ceasar, who made 34 saves, including one on a penalty shot. The Beavers led 2-1 until Plymouth’s Andrew Wigg scored on a power play with 11:50 gone in the third.

Massachusetts-Boston, ranked fifth, suffered its first loss of the season, a 4-1 upset by Connecticut College in the Codfish Bowl. The Camels scored four unanswered goals, including power-play tallies in the first period by Greg Liautaud and J.C. Cangelosi. UMB had reeled off 10 straight wins to start the season.

Sixth-ranked Oswego captured its own Pathfinder Bank tournament for the third year in a row by carding wins over Tufts (4-2) and Nazareth (5-2). Mitchell Herlihey earned tourney MVP honors after racking up four points, including a goal and two assists in the championship game win over Nazareth.

Plattsburgh netminders Brady Rouleau, Ryan Hubbard and Spencer Finney didn’t allow a single goal through two games of the Cardinal Classic, but their combined efforts weren’t enough to give seventh-ranked Platty the crown in its own tournament. That distinction went to No. 15 Amherst, who battled the Birds to a 1-0 shootout win in the championship tilt Saturday. Finney made 31 saves, while Lord Jeffs’ netminder Danny Vitale stopped 38 shots through the scoreless regulation and overtime sessions. The title was finally settled by Amherst’s Dan Merenich, who beat Finney in the second shootout round. The night before, Rouleau and Hubbard hooked up for a 21-save shutout in Plattsburgh’s 5-0 win over New England College. Paul Fregeau netted his first three goals of the season to help the Cardinal cause.

Williams, ranked 14th, enjoyed a successful Western trip that netted the Ephs a 3-2 win over Gustavus Adolphus, followed by a 3-1 win over St. Olaf. Five different marksmen connected for Williams, including Tyler Young, who scored twice against the Gusties.

First picks of 2015

2012 03 17 al 3087 First picks of 2015

St. Norbert goaltender David Jacobson has only allowed eight goals this season (photo: Angelo Lisuzzo).

The year 2015 has arrived, and while there are no flying cars, hoverboards or a world dominated by robots, there is hockey again as teams return to action after the holiday break.

Our two columnists, the dual-esteemed Dan Hickling and Brian Lester, have had their share of holiday fun and are now rarin’ to get back at it, starting with their picks for this weekend’s top games.

BRIAN LESTER – WEST

The matchup of the weekend is one that features No. 1 St. Norbert playing host to No. 8 Wisconsin-Stevens Point in a rematch of last year’s national championship game.

The Pointers (9-2), winners of four consecutive games, have racked up 50 goals on the season and have given up 23. Joe Kalisz has come through with seven goals to pave the way, while Kyle Sharkey has tallied six goals.

A total of 13 players have scored at least two goals for the Pointers, who also have rock-solid goaltending with Brandon Jaeger between the pipes.

St. Norbert has been phenomenal on offense, scoring 63 goals, and their defense has been as tough to crack as a brick wall as the Green Knights have allowed only 10 goals.

Michael Hill has fueled the offense with 10 goals. The Green Knights move the puck well as a team, having tallied 94 assists, and David Jacobson has been tough in goal, giving up only eight goals this season.

Defense will decide the outcome and the edge goes to the Green Knights in what should be a tight game. St. Norbert, 3-2.

Below are a few other games on tap for the weekend ahead.

No. 14 Williams (5-2-1) vs. Gustavus Adolphus (3-4-5): The Gusties come in looking for their first win since Nov. 14th as they have tied five times in their last seven games. Offensively, Jake Bushey has paved the way, scoring four goals and dishing out three assists. The Gusties have scored 32 goals. Defense will be key. Gustavus has allowed 35 goals, with Erik Johnson giving up 32 in 11 starts. A win over a nationally-ranked opponent would be huge for a team hoping to start off the new year on the right track.

Williams comes in having won four of its last six. The Ephs have played well defensively, allowing just 30 goals behind the play of Sean Dougherty.

C.J. Shugart leads the offense with six goals and five assists. Williams has tallied 20 goals in all and if it’s on top of it’s game, it should survive this road test. Williams, 4-2.

Williams (5-2-1) vs. St. Olaf (3-8-1): The Oles won their last game before the break and want to build on that momentum as they enter the new year. They have scored at least three goals in their last three games but have also given up at least three per game during that stretch. They have allowed a total of 38 goals and Steve Papciak will have to be at his best between the pipes. Peter Lindblad leads the offense with four goals.

Williams features a balanced attack where six players have scored at least three goals. The Ephs should be able to use that to their advantage against the Oles. Williams, 5-3.

St. Mary’s (3-5-2) vs. Milwaukee School of Engineering (6-6): The Cardinals went into the break riding the high of a dominating win over Aurora and they hope the second half of the season will prove to be a successful one. St. Mary’s is led by Martin Guse, who has scored seven goals and dished out six assists. Jed McGlasson has tallied six goals and four assists. Phil Heinle has anchored the goalie spot.

The Raiders went into the break on a two-game losing streak, but before that, had won six consecutive games. This game could provide them with an opportunity to get on another roll, especially being at home, where they are 5-1 on the season. Nick LaRue has tallied four goals and three assists to pace the offense. The Raiders have the edge in this one. MSOE, 5-2.

Aurora (1-9-1) vs. No. 4 Wisconsin-River Falls (11-0): The Falcons have been sensational on both sides of the puck, scoring 45 goals and giving up 18. One of the big keys to their success has been their ability to execute on the power play. River Falls has scored 16 goals off the power play.

A total of 12 players have scored at least two goals, with Kyle Gattelaro leading the way with six goals. Ryan Doner, Mike Fazio, Blake Huppert and Alex Murphy have come through with five goals apiece. Tanner Milliron has been solid between the pipes.

The Spartans have struggled and are in the midst of a four-game winless streak. They have score only 31 goals and have given up 65. Rihards Marensis and Trevor Hoth have paced the offense with five goals apiece. River Falls simply has too much talent for Aurora to contend with and this series will end with a sweep for the Falcons, River Falls, 7-2, 5-0.

Nazareth (4-4-3) vs. St. Scholastica (7-4): The Saints dropped three of their last four before the break and need a good start to the new year. Derek Sutliffe leads St. Scholastica with six goals and six assists, while Connor Lucas and Corey Koop have both seen time in goal, with Bruggeman starting seven times and Koop four.

Nazareth hasn’t won a game since Nov. 22 and tied in its last two games before the break. The Golden Flyers are led by Dominik Gabaj, who has tallied six goals and three assists. Oliver Janzen and Rocky Gruttadauria have come through with four goals apiece. The Saints should have the edge in this one as they start off the new year with a win. St. Scholastica, 4-2.

DAN HICKLING – EAST

Friday

Hobart (6-4-0) vs Southern Maine (1-9-0) at Lake Placid – Hobart 5, USM 1
For the first time in three decades, Southern Maine will take to the ice without Jeff Beaney behind the bench. Beaney, who resigned New Year’s Eve, will be replaced in the interim by Ed Harding. Hobart should have little trouble taking advantage of the fractured situation.

Tufts (4-4-1) at #6 Oswego (7-1-2) – Oswego 5, Tufts 3
The Lakers return from break ready to roll all the way to the Frozen Four. Again. This is where it begins.

Saturday

Skidmore (2-8-1) at Nichols (6-2-2) – Nichols 5, Skidmore 2
The Bison have had ample time to consider what kind of club it is – the one who rolled to five consecutive season opening wins, or the one that mustered just one win in the five starts before the break. This should tell you what they’ve concluded.

No. 3 Babson (11-0-0) at Plymouth State (5-3-2) – Plymouth 2 Babson 1
PSU averaged better than four goals per game leading into the break. The Panthers won’t get that many against Babson, which happens to have the stingiest defense in the nation (0.73 gpg). But since the Beavers probably won’t go undefeated, this just might be the exception.

Sunday

Canton (1-9-1) at Becker (3-8-0) – Becker 7, Canton 6
With these teams, one can just picture three full periods (and perhaps a little more) of end to end rushes. There’s got to be a baker’s dozen worth of tallies in all of that.

Looking back on last weekend of 2014

jason zaleski Looking back on last weekend of 2014

Jason Zaleski tallied a hat trick in Buffalo State’s win over Johnson and Wales last Saturday (photo: Dan Hickling).

It’s time for a well-earned and well-deserved break for our two men’s D-III columnists, Dan Hickling and Brian Lester, but first, let’s run down this past weekend.

WEST

MIAC – In a showdown against nationally-ranked St. Scholastica, St. Thomas took an early lead and never looked back en route to a 4-2 non-conference victory on Saturday. Four different players scored in the win, with Willie Faust and Alex Altlenbernd each tallying their sixth goals of the season. Jordan Lovick and Connor McBride also scored. Their goals gave the Tommies an early 2-0 lead. Drew Fielding earned the win as he tallied 25 saves. The Tommies held a 29-27 edge in shots, going 2-of-5 on the power play. St. Thomas, which is 3-0-2 at home this year, improved to 5-3-3 overall…Concordia ended a three-game winless streak as it knocked off Northland 4-2 on Saturday. The Cobbers won for the first time since beating Middlebury on Nov. 28 and will head into the holiday break with a 6-4-3 record. The Cobbers pulled away in the third period, scoring twice to seal the deal. Jordie Bancroft broke the 2-2 tie and Jeremy Johnson added a goal as well in the third. It was Johnson’s second goal of the night. Andrew Deters also scored for the Cobbers, who owned a commanding 36-15 advantage in shots. Deters and Bancroft each tallied an assist as well. Jordyn Kaufer started in goal and racked up 13 saves. Kaufer improved to 2-2-2 on the season.

NCHA – Marian opened up its weekend with a 5-2 win over Superior behind two goals from Rjay Berra. Berra also tallied an assist in the win. Brodie Jamieson scored a goal and dished out two assists as the Sabres snapped a two-game losing streak and improved to 6-6 on the season. Jacob Ryd and Derek Thorogood also scored for the Sabres, who held a 34-29 edge in shots. Mike Baldwin won his third game of the season has he made 27 saves. Marian didn’t have as much luck on Saturday as it lost 2-1 in a hard-fought game against nationally-ranked Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Jamieson scored the lone goal for Marian. It was his fourth of the year. Mike Gudmandson made 26 saves. The Sabres are off until Jan. 9 when they travel to Wisconsin-Eau Claire…Finlandia picked up its second win of the year as it topped Aurora 4-2 on Friday. The win snapped a seven-game losing streak for the Lions. Lucas Lahnals, Thomas Malkmus, Kyle Pavlack and James Devlin all scored goals for the Lions, who fashioned a 30-23 advantage in shots. Jordan Marr made 21 saves as the Lions improved to 2-10 on the season. The Lions battled Aurora again on Sunday and skated to a 2-2 tie. Devlin and Lane King both scored goals for Finlandia. Walker Enstad made 27 saves. It was the first tie of the year for the Lions.

WIAC – Eau Claire continued its dominance of the Milwaukee School of Engineering on Friday night, knocking off the Raiders 4-0. The Blugolds have won all six meetings in the series, outscoring the Raiders 42-4. The win on Friday marked the third time Eau Claire has blanked MSOE. The Blugolds scored twice on the power play, getting goals from Preston Hodge and Ethan Nauman. Nauman finished the night with two goals. Patrick Moore scored as well for the Blugolds, who held a 43-34 edge in shots and ended the Raiders’ six-game win streak. It was the fifth consecutive game in which Eau Claire did not give up a power play goal. The Raiders were 0-for-9 in power play situations. Tyler Green earned the win in goal, racking up 34 saves. The Blugolds ran their win streak to three games on Saturday with an 11-2 win over Lawrence. Eau Claire scored five power play goals in the win, with Nauman and Brandon Wahlin each scoring two of them. Ross Andersen scored on the power play as well for Eau Claire, which improved to 7-3-2 overall. Jay Deo racked up 24 saves for the win….Wisconsin-River Falls is off to its best start in program history after a 3-1 win over Hamline on Friday night. The Falcons are 11-0 and their 11-game win streak ties the record for longest win streak. It’s the first time since the 1995-96 campaign that River Falls has won 11 in a row. Tanner Milliron came through with 30 saves, although his shutout streak, which lasted more than 167 minutes, was broken in the second period. River Falls was outshot 31-22 but it didn’t matter as three players scored in the win. Mike Fazio, Michael Williams and Russ Jordan all scored for the Falcons. The goal by Jordan was the first of his career. River Falls is 20-3-1 all-time against Hamline and this marks the second time this season that the Falcons have beaten the Pipers. River Falls improved to 6-0 at home and won’t play again until Jan. 2nd when it takes on Aurora in the first meeting between the two programs.

EAST

Not much weekend action in the East and what few games were played were all out of conference.

Nonetheless, there were some notable performances that sent their respective teams into the Christmas break on a high note … In Fredonia, Hunter Long scored his third goal of the season with 5:07 gone in the third period to lead FSU to a 2-1 squeaker over Johnson and Wales Friday. Goalie Jeff Flagler stopped 36 of 37 to give the Blue Devils their second win of the season. … The next afternoon, J & W stopped off in Buffalo and were bested again, this time by Buff State by a 5-3 count. Jason Zaleski scored three goals for the Bengals, and Ryan Salkeld added two more. … Hamilton rallied from a goal down three different times and eked out a 3-3 overtime tie with visiting Cortland, Friday. Pat Curtis netted the deadlocker with just 40 seconds remaining in regulation. … Also, Friday, Curry handed host Potsdam a 4-2 loss after the Bears had mounted a third period rally with goals by Billy Pascalli and Jake Rivera. Adam DiBrina’s empty netter with 26 seconds remaining sealed the deal for the Colonels. … On Saturday, Curry’s Jordan Reed scored twice (Nos. 8 and 9) in a 5-4 win over Canton. … Plymouth State went winless in its two starts, playing to a 4-4 overtime tie at New England College, then losing to Castleton State 4-3 in overtime. Josh Woody scored at 14:05 of the third, allowing the Panthers to salvage the tie with NEC. The next day, Castleton freshman Ryan Smith picked an opportune time to net his first varsity goal, at 1:32 of the extra session, which finished off the Panthers. … Lastly, Framingham State gave up four unanswered special teams goals to D-II Franklin Pierce to fall 5-3.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Last picks before the ho-ho-holidays

deters2 Last picks before the ho ho holidays

Andrew Deters hopes he’s doing this at some point over the weekend for Concordia (Minn.) (photo: Bruce Post).

The holiday break is closing in, but first, there are a few more hockey games to play.

BRIAN LESTER

One of the biggest matchups of the weekend is a nonconference battle between St. Thomas and No. 14 St. Scholastica.

The Tommies are hosting the Saints with a chance to make a statement. They come into the game at 4-3-3 overall and hope to head into the break on a high note.

St. Thomas has scored 40 goals and Alex Altenbernd and Willie Faust have led the way with five goals apiece. Drew Fielding owns a 1.52 goals-against average.

The Saints are back on track after a two-game losing streak and come in at 7-3. They have been solid offensively as well, scoring 34 goals, and Derek Sutliffe leads the way with six. Luke Simpson and Dylan Nowakowski have tallied five goals apiece.

Opportunities could be limited in a game like this, and the team that can capitalize first and limit mistakes on defense will come out on top. St. Thomas has the edge at home, where it has yet to lose. St. Thomas, 3-2.

Below are a few other matchups on the weekend schedule:

Hamline (4-3-3) vs. No. 4 Wisconsin-River Falls (10-0): The Pipers are no doubt a much improved team, and this game provides an opportunity for revenge. Back in early November, Hamline lost 5-2 at home to the Falcons.

The Pipers have not lost in their last five games, tying three opponents, and they will look to keep that momentum going on the road. Kevin Novakovich leads the Pipers with six goals, while John Sellie-Hanson has come up big in goal. Generating early offense is going to be key against the Falcons on the road.

River Falls is one of the hottest teams in the nation and has blanked its last two opponents, including a 4-0 win over No. 11 St. John’s on Tuesday.

Tanner Milliron owns a 1.69 goals-against average. If he is on top of his game, the Falcons will be tough to beat. Not to mention the offense is balanced, producing 42 goals, including six by Kyle Gattelaro. Hamline will play hard, but River Falls is going to be too tough to stop at home. River Falls, 4-2.

Milwaukee School of Engineering (6-4) vs. No. 13 Wisconsin-Eau Claire (5-3-2): The Raiders roll into Eau Claire having won their last six, and this game is no doubt an opportunity to make a statement against a nationally ranked opponent.

MSOE is 0-4 against ranked teams this season, but certainly has the talent to win this game. Omar Mullen has paved the way with nine goals and nine assists. The Raiders have scored 39 goals on the year and have struck for five or more in three of their last four games. The key is finding a way to win away from home – MSOE is 1-4 on the road.

The Blugolds have won two of their last three and have lost only once at home. Ethan Nauman has led the offense with seven goals and four assists, while Eau Claire has taken advantage of its depth at goalie to play well defensively.

Eau Claire has given up 22 goals. Tyler Green and Jay Deo have each played in five games between the pipes. This should be a hard-fought game, but I think the Blugolds find a way to get the job done. Eau Claire, 4-3.

Northland (1-10-1) vs. Concordia (Minn.) (5-4-3): The Cobbers are seeking their first win since the end of November and hope to earn it this weekend when they host the Lumberjacks.

Concordia will look to get its offense going after scoring no more than two goals in its last three outings. Jordie Bancroft and Andrew Deters have been instrumental to the success of the offense. Bancroft has scored eight goals and Deters has come through with five. The Cobbers have scored 34 overall and Alex Reichle has been solid in goal.

Northland has lost three consecutive games and hasn’t won a game since beating Lake Forest 4-3 on Nov. 8. The Lumberjacks have been led by Darius Cole, who has tallied five goals and five assists. Michael Berens has come through with five goals and four assists.

The Lumberjacks will need to step up on defense to have a shot at beating the Cobbers. Northland has allowed 59 goals, with Tyler Ampe and Jesse Dillio splitting time between the pipes. Dillio has played in eight games and Ampe has played in six. Concordia is the better team and should have no problem winning this game, Concordia, 6-3.

DAN HICKLING

Friday

Cortland (5-6-1) @ Hamilton (3-3-1) – Hamilton 5, Cortland 4
Both are fair to middlin’ teams that have scored wins over ranked opponents (Cortland over Geneseo and Hamilton over Williams). This one could come down to special teams – Cortland’s PP vs. Hamilton’s PK. Oh, and here’s a fun fact for you – Cortland freshman forward Darren McCormick (2-16-18) leads the nation in assists.

Plymouth State (5-2-1) @ New England College (3-5-1) – Plymouth 5, NEC 2
One thing is certain. Plymouth goalie Gordon Ceasar will not have to make 66 saves.

Saturday

Johnson and Wales (5-3-1) @ Buffalo State (2-6-2) – Buff State 4, J&W 3
The Bengals (shut out in three straight) broke their scoring schneid last week and the sticks should be hot for another cold day in December.

Curry (4-5-1) @ Canton (1-8-1) – Canton 4, Curry 3
Canton endures the rough life of an independent, but this time should be rewarded for its patience.

Weekend highlights around Division III

aaron green brockport Weekend highlights around Division III

Brockport goalie Aaron Green was spectacular last weekend in blanking both Buffalo State and Fredonia (photo: Dan Hickling).

Ah yes, the weekend that was.

Our Division III columnists take a look back on highlights from last weekend.

ECAC EAST – It’s something of an oddity, but better than a month into the season, the conference has three unbeaten teams – Norwich, Babson and Massachusetts-Boston – seated at the top. … Norwich made quick work of both Skidmore (4-0) and Castleton (5-1). Cadets goalie Braeden Ostepchuk turned in a 22-save shutout against Skidmore, while four different scorers – including William Pelletier – connected. Pelletier fired in two more goals against the Spartans, while teammate Anthony Flaherty notched a hat trick. … Babson goalie Jamie Murray backboned the Beavers to wins over Southern Maine (3-0) and UNE (4-1). Murray faced just 16 shots by USM, but stopped them all to turn in his fourth shutout of the season. …. Mass-Boston got two goals from Kit Sitterly (Nos. 7 and 8) in a 5-1 win over USM on Saturday while one night earlier, Stephen Buco notched his ninth and Nathan Milan tallied his ninth and 10th in a 3-0 win over UNE.

ECAC NORTHEAST – League leader Suffolk suffered its first loss of the season, Sunday’s 2-1 squeaker at Wentworth. Mike Domsodi netted the game-winner for the Leopards at 11:58 of the third period … Nichols was held to a 1-1 overtime tie by Manhattanville in a nonconference tilt.

ECAC WEST – There was just one conference tilt on the weekend schedule – Nazareth at Elmira – but it was a memorable one, ending in a 4-4 overtime draw. Leads changed hands four times, with the Golden Flyers taking the first one on a Dominick Gabaj goal with 2:26 gone. Andrew Ciampichini replied for the Soaring Eagles 2:02 later, setting the tone for the breakneck affair which saw the teams combine for 88 shots (51 by Elmira). Oliver Janzen scored two times for Nazareth, the second of those staking the Flyers to a 4-3 lead with 7:15 to play. But that was countered by Carter Shinkaruk’s second of the game, with just 20 seconds remaining in regulation, which allowed the Eagles to salvage the tie.

MASCAC – The light Saturday slate was highlighted by first-place Plymouth State’s 5-2 win over Westfield State, a squad that had been an early season surprise. The Owls, which had one four of their first five conference games, took an early 1-0 lead on PSU, then were pinned back by four consecutive Panthers goals (two by Ryan Callahan). Of note, the teams combined for an astounding 125 shots on goal (68 by Westfield), leaving Plymouth goalie Gordon Ceasar to make 66 saves and stats mavens to scramble for the record books. … Salem State goalie Jason Pucciarelli saw significantly less rubber, 28 shots, to turn in a 3-0 shutout over Worcester State. … And Massachusetts-Dartmouth got two goals each from Shaun Walters and Jaret Babych in its 6-4 win over Fitchburg State. Cameron Snyder scored twice for the Falcons in a losing cause.

MIAC – St. Thomas came out of the weekend sitting all alone in second place in the league standings after a MIAC series against Concordia (Minn.). The Tommies dominated the series opener en route to a 5-1 win and won a shootout with the Cobbers on Saturday. The Tommies held a 29-26 edge in shots in Friday’s win and five different players scored goals. Joe Morris was impressive in his first start in goal as he tallied 25 saves. On Saturday, the Tommies and Cobbers skated to a 2-2 tie before St. Thomas won the shootout 2-0. Nick Nielsen and Jordan Lovick scored the goals for St. Thomas in the shootout. The Tommies won despite being outshot 45-33. Drew Fielding started the game and racked up 43 saves. St. Thomas is now 4-3-3 overall and 3-1-2 in the MIAC. The Cobbers fell to 5-4-3 overall and are 2-2-2 in the conference. They are now in third place…St. Olaf opened up its series against Gustavus Adolphus with a shootout win on Friday night. The two teams skated to a 3-3 tie before Steven Sherman and Peter Lindlblad scored goals in the shootout. Sherman also scored the goal that forced overtime, scoring an empty-netter with 43 seconds remaining in regulation. Lindblad also scored a goal in regulation. It was his fourth of the season. The Oles held a 32-29 edge in shots. The Oles capped the series on Saturday with a 4-2 win. St Olaf scored four times in the second and third periods to earn the victory. It is now 3-8-1 overall and 2-3-1 in the MIAC. Steve Papciak made 35 saves for the Oles. Sam Majka and Andy Pearson both scored goals for the Gusties. Majka’s goal was the first of his college career. It marked only the third time in the last 10 games that Gustavus has lost. The Gusties, who are 3-4-5 overall and 1-1-4 in the MIAC, have tied five times during the stretch.

NCHA – Lake Forest came through with a big-time sweep over the weekend in NCHA action, beating No. 12 St. Scholastica twice. The Foresters beat the Saints 1-0 on Friday and picked up a 3-1 win on Saturday. On Saturday, Luke Swardenski scored twice to give the Foresters a 2-1 lead. Jason McAloon scored an empty-netter for the Foresters, who improved to 6-3-2 overall and to 5-2-1 in the league. The Foresters are in third place in the standings. Lake Forest, winners of four consecutive games, held a 37-29 edge in shots and Leo Podolsky made 25 saves. In Friday’s win, Podolsky racked up 36 saves in the shutout. He has a 1.63 goals against average on the year and has held two teams scoreless in his last three outings. McAloon scored the lone goal for the Foresters in the second period. Lake Forest was outshot 36-30 in Friday’s game but still managed to come away with the victory…St. Norbert made sure it will stay ranked as the No. 1 team in the country after sweeping Lawrence in a two-game series. The Green Knights head into the holiday break without a loss for the first time in program history. They topped the Vikings 3-1 on Friday and rolled to a 9-0 on Saturday. St. Norbert is now 10-0-1 overall and 7-0-1 in the NCHA. It is unbeaten in its last 22 games dating back to last year. Michael Hill scored three goals and has scored six in the last four games. Erik Cooper tallied two goals. David Jacobson racked up 19 saves and earned the 19th shutout of his career. He also won the 71st game of his career. St. Norbert owned a 52-16 advantage in shots. In the win on Friday, Cooper, Hill and Tyler Zepeda all scored for the Green Knights, who took 57 shots while limiting the Vikings to 17. Jacobson made 16 saves. Lawrence fell to 5-6-1 overall and 4-4 in the conference.

NESCAC – Previously unbeaten Bowdoin suffered its first two losses of the season, 3-1 to Connecticut College, and 4-3 to Tufts in overtime. Brian Brown scored at 3:25 of the extra session, his sixth of the season, to give the Jumbos the surprise win. Brown also scored the previous night to help Tufts to a 4-1 win over Colby. … The conference schedule was highlighted by Williams’ 4-3 win over visiting Amherst on Saturday. The Ephs, 5-2 losers to Hamilton on Friday, got the game-winner at 13:24 of the third by Greg Johnson.

SUNYAC – Clashes between Oswego (ranked No. 8 last week) and No. 4 Plattsburgh carry implications within the league, and nationally, too. Friday’s reunion at Plattsburgh was no different, as the Lakers eked out a 3-1 win to close the standings gap to five points (Oswego has played two less SUNYAC games), and shake up this week’s USCHO national poll. The Lakers led from 12:41 of the first on, after Chris Waterstreet scored his second of the season. Chris Raguseo made it 2-0 early in the second, but Mark Constantine brought the Cardinals to within a goal midway through the third. Oswego defenseman Bobby Gertsakis sealed the deal with his second of the season at 15:21. Platty took out its disappointment on Cortland the following night with a 7-1 trouncing while the Lakers overwhelmed Potsdam by the same score. … Brockport goalie Aaron Green recorded back-to-back shutouts, stopping a total of 55 shots in twin 3-0 wins over Buffalo State and Fredonia. Never in its 41-year varsity history had the Golden Eagles recorded consecutive shutout wins. … Meanwhile, Buff State, which had been blanked in its previous three starts, got an overtime goal from freshman Zach Nieminen to upset host Geneseo. Another Bengal freshman, goaltender Ian Sylves, made 36 saves to record his first varsity win.

WIAC – Wisconsin-Stevens Point could not have asked for a better way to open up play in the WIAC as the Pointers blanked Wisconsin-Eau Claire 3-0 on Friday night in a battle of nationally ranked teams. Brandon Jaeger was phenomenal in goal as he stopped 22 shots to help seventh-ranked Stevens Point beat the ninth-ranked Blugolds for the fifth time in the last six meetings. It was the second shutout of the year for Jaeger. Andrew Kolb, Alex Brooks and Kyle Sharkey all scored goals for the Pointers. Lawrence Cornellier tallied two assists. Stevens Point held a 37-22 edge in shots. Tyler Green took the loss for the Blugolds, making 34 saves. The Pointers capped the weekend with another WIAC win, holding off Wisconsin-Stout 7-5. Stevens Point improved to 8-2 overall and to 2-0 in the league. It has won its last three games. Joe Kalisz scored twice in the win over Stout. Eau Claire topped Superior 4-1 on Saturday and is now 5-3-2 overall and 1-1 in the league…Wisconsin-River Falls continued its perfect run on Friday, edging Wisconsin-Superior 1-0. The No. 5 Falcons are now 9-0 on the season after winning their conference opener. Tanner Milliron made 37 saves as he recorded his second shutout of the season and the third of his career. Milliron has not lost a game since Jan. 24 of this year. Ryan Doner scored the only goal for River Falls, scoring on the power play 11 minutes into the second period. It was his team-leading fifth goal of the season. The Falcons were outshot 38-24. Superior is now 5-6 overall and 0-2 in the league.

Weekend picks have been made

Plattsburgh michael cassidy Weekend picks have been made

Plattsburgh’s Michael Cassidy will need to be on his game this weekend as the Cardinals face Oswego (photo: Dan Hickling).

Thanksgiving is over and Christmas is right around the corner.

But before everyone unwraps gifts, they can enjoy a little more hockey before the holiday break.

BRIAN LESTER

Below is a look at my picks for a handful of matchups among teams this weekend in the West region.

MIAC

Augsburg (5-4, 2-0) vs. No. 13 St. John’s (5-1-3, 3-0-1): This is one of the biggest matchups in the conference this weekend.

The Johnnies are in first place and are looking to get back on track after a 2-1 road loss to St. Scholastica. Neal Smith and Huba Sekesi lead St. John’s with five goals apiece, while Saxton Soley has fashioned a goals-against average of 1.58. The Johnnies have yet to lose at home this season.

The Auggies, who received votes in the USCHO.com Division III Men’s Poll this week, open this series on the road and are hoping to end a two-game losing streak. The good news is they have been impressive away from home, sporting a 3-1 road record. Mark Ohnsted leads the offense with six goals and five assists. Dylan Meier has scored five goals and dished out two assists. I think this is a series that ends in a split, with each team winning at home. St. John’s, 4-2; Augsburg, 3-2.

Concordia (Minn.) (5-3-2, 2-1-1) at St. Thomas (3-3-2, 2-1-1: Concordia has a ton of momentum heading into the series, especially after making history in the PrimeLink Great Northern Shootout. The Cobbers are riding a five-game unbeaten streak and have yet to lose on the road. Jordie Bancroft has come through with eight goals and four assists to pace the Cobbers. Freshman Alex Reichle continues to get better in goal and owns a 1.81 goals-against average.

The Tommies are the defending champs and have won two of their last three. They have scored just 17 goals and will look to crank up their offensive production this weekend. Alex Altenbernd and Willie Faust lead the Tommies with four goals apiece. Drew Fielding has allowed only 12 goals in net. I can’t see either team getting a sweep here, but expect Concordia to win the first game of the series. Concordia, 4-3; St. Thomas 3-2.

WIAC

No. 14 Wisconsin-Eau Claire (4-2-2) at No. 7 Wisconsin-Stevens Point (6-2): Nothing beats a conference opener like a matchup between two nationally-ranked teams. The Blugolds and Pointers square off for the first time this season and both teams are out to make an early statement in the league.

Eau Claire ended a three-game winless streak with a big road win over Augsburg and will look to build on that momentum. Ross Andersen and Ethan Nauman anchor a balanced scoring attack with six goals apiece while Tyler Green and Jay Deo continue to split time in goal.

The Pointers made a huge statement last week, beating previously unbeaten Adrian on the road, and now they come home with a chance to get another big win. Joe Kalisz and Kyle Sharkey lead the offense with five goals apiece while Brandon Jaeger has been rock solid in goal. This one will be close, but the Pointers get the edge at home. Stevens Point, 5-3.

No. 5 Wisconsin-River Falls (7-0) at Wisconsin-Superior (5-4): The quest for another league championship begins for the Falcons, who have scored four or more goals in all but one game. They thrive on a balanced attack where 10 players have scored two or more goals, including five by Alex Murphy, and Tanner Milliron has been tremendous between the pipes, giving up only 14 goals.

The Yellowjackets have won their last three and hope home ice works to their advantage in this huge early-season matchup. They are 4-2 at home this season. Tanner Dion and Jake Johnson have scored five goals apiece while Cory Simons has shown off his potential in goal the last two games, winning twice. The Falcons will prevail in this one. River Falls, 4-2.

NCHA

Lawrence (5-4-1, 4-2) vs. No. 1 St. Norbert (8-0-1, 5-0-1): The Vikings have started off well in league play and want to maintain that momentum. It won’t be easy against the reigning national champions. Lawrence opens this home-and-home series on the road and needs to be at its best to have a chance to make an early-season statement. The Vikings are led by Brendan Vetter and Blake Roubos. Both players have struck for four goals apiece. Mattias Soderqvist has started nine games between the pipes.

The Green Knights have rattled off three consecutive wins and have cranked out 51 goals. Michael Hill and Erik Cooper lead the high-powered offense with six goals apiece. David Jacobson has done his job in goal, giving up just nine goals. St. Norbert is too good on both ends of the ice to fall short in this series. St. Norbert, 5-2 and 4-1.

No. 12 St. Scholastica (6-1, 5-1) at Lake Forest (4-3-2, 3-2-1): The Saints hit the road with a chance to extend their two-game win streak. They edged St. John’s back on Nov. 25 and are hoping to come out sharp despite the extended break. Derek Sutliffe has paced the Saints with six goals and six assists. Josh Hansen has scored six goals as well. One of the keys to St. Scholastica’s success has been its ability to score off the power play. The Saints have nine power-play goals this season.

This series is a huge test for the Foresters, who have also won their last two games. They have proven they can compete with the best, forcing ties against St. Norbert (2-2) and Eau Claire (1-1). Luke Swardenski has led Lake Forest with six goals while Jack Lewis and Ben Certo have come through with eight assists apiece. Leo Podolsky has been tough as a goalie and owns a 1.87 goals against average. This is a series that ends with a split. Lake Forest 4-3, St. Scholastica 5-3.

DAN HICKLING

Friday

ECAC West – Nazareth (4-4-2, 3-1-1) @ Elmira (3-4-1, 2-2-1) – Elmira 5, Nazareth 4. Even at this early date, this matchup has the earmarks of a season-definer. Even more so for Elmira, which has yet to flash its defending championship form. If nothing else, the home ice is the ace up the sleeve.

SUNYAC – No. 8 Oswego (5-1-2, 3-1-1) @ No. 4 Plattsburgh (8-1-0, 7-0-0) – Plattsburgh 2, Oswego 1. The East’s marquee matchup of the week. The Cardinals may prevail in a tilt for the ages. But don’t hold us to it.

Saturday

MASCAC – Salem St. (4-2-0, 2-2-0) @ Worcester St. (2-5-2, 1-2-1) – Salem 5, Worcester 1. It’s time for the preseason favorite Vikings to put some MASCAC wins together. There’s a good chance one of those will come here.

NESCAC – No. 15 Amherst (5-1-0, 2-1-0) @ Williams (4-1-1, 3-0-1) – Williams 4 Amherst 2 – Amherst can win a high-scoring tilt, or a low-scoring bleeder. But so can Williams, and having with the taste of last week’s upset loss to Morrisville still stale in their mouths, that should make all the difference.

ECAC East – No. 2 Norwich (7-0-1, 5-0-0) @ Castleton (3-6-0, 3-3-0) – Castleton 4, Norwich 3. There is a “trap” game in every elite team’s future. The Cadets won’t have to leave the state of Vermont to find theirs.

Sunday

ECAC Northeast – Suffolk (6-0-1, 4-0-1) @ Wentworth (4-4-1, 2-2-1) – Suffolk 3, Wentworth 1. Suffolk is among the hottest squads in the country and there’s no cooling down here.

Looking back on the weekend

131115 UST UWSP M 0200 Looking back on the weekend

Brandon Jaeger helped Wisconsin-Stevens Point knock off Adrian last weekend (photo: Ryan Coleman, d3photography.com).

Sick of turkey leftovers?

No worries. We’ve got you covered with all the Division III men’s highlights from this past weekend.

EAST – Dan Hickling

With the vast majority of teams in the East playing out of conference, this week’s wrap looks at how last week’s ranked teams fared.

With No. 3 Plattsburgh tangling with No. 2 Norwich, one could have expected a game for the ages. Such was not the case, as the Cadets easily handled Platty, 5-1. Austin Surowiec paced Norwich with two goals. The next day, Norwich was held to a 2-2 tie while the Cardinals rebounded by beating Primelink Tourney hosts Middlebury, 4-2 … Babson, ranked No. 6, made a sweep of two visiting ECAC West foes, Nazareth (6-2) and Elmira (2-1). Dan Casey’s second period goal – his sixth of the season – proved to be the difference against Elmira. … No. 8 Trinity split its two tilts, blasting Massachusetts-Dartmouth 9-1 – with Conor Coveney, Anthony Sabitsky and Tyler Whitney all chipping in two goals – but then lost to No. 10 Massachusetts-Boston, 5-3. The Beacons stunned Trinity with four unanswered goals, two of them by Stephen Buco (his seventh and eighth). … The previous night, UMB rolled over Weslyan, 6-2, as Peter MacIntyre racked up four assists. … No. 11 Bowdoin trounced Wentworth, 6-1 in the opener of the Bowdoin/Colby Tournament, as half a dozen Polar Bears lit the lamp. That was followed by a 8-0 rout of Salve Regina, which featured a 27-save shutout by Max Fenkell and two goals by Matthew Lison. … Finally, No. 15 Williams squeaked out a 4-3 win over Johnson & Wales in the opener of the Skidmore Invitational, then was shocked in overtime, 3-2 by Morrisville for the tourney title. The Mustangs erased a two-goal deficit, with Marc-Antoine Chaput knotting the score with 4:57 remaining in the third period. Matthew Beer then notched the game-winner at 1:20 of the extra session. Morrisville goalie Steven Dombrosky racked up 36 saves in a winning cause.

WEST – Brian Lester

MIAC – Concordia (Minn.) made history over the weekend as it became the first western team to win the PrimeLink Shootout tournament, knocking off No. 2 Norwich in a shootout. It is also the first invited team to win the tourney title in 17 years. The Cobbers and Cadets were tied at 3-3 after regulation and overtime before Concordia came through with the win over a program that has won three national championships. Andrew Deters and Jon Grebosky scored goals in the shootout. Jordie Bancroft and Jordan Krebsbach both scored in regulation for the Cobbers. Alex Reichle tallied 28 saves. The Cobbers are unbeaten in their last five games, improving to 5-3-2 … Gustavus Adolphus was winless on the weekend at the MIAC/NCHA Showcase, falling 2-1 to Marian on Sunday after skating to a 3-3 tie against Lawrence on Saturday. Andy Pearson tied the game in the third period against Lawrence to force overtime. It marked the fourth consecutive game where Gustavus had a game end in a tie. Jake McCann and Gavin Tufte both scored goals as well for the Gusties against Lawrence. The Gustied ended up with a 45-23 edge in shots. Against Marian, a goal with under five minutes to play proved to be the difference as Gustavus had its six-game unbeaten streak end. The Gusties are now 3-3-4 on the season. Jack Walsh scored Gustavus’ only goal of the game. The Gusties held a 28-13 advantage in shots and have killed 21 straight penalties over an eight-game span.

NCHA - Concordia (Wis.) retained possession of the Thanksgiving Cup with a 3-1 win over Bethel on Saturday. The Falcons capped a weekend sweep of the Royals with the win. They earned a 6-5 win over Bethel on Friday. Tanner Bull broke a 1-1 tie in the third period and Chris Hughes finished off the scoring for the Falcons, who improved to 3-7. Domingo Torrenueva started his first game of the season on Saturday and racked up 32 saves. In Friday?s win, Anthony Pickering scored twice, including the game winner with 9:21 remaining in the game, to lift the Falcons to a victory. Dylan Frank started between the pipes and made 30 saves. After opening the season with six consecutive losses, the Falcons have won three of their last four games … The Milwaukee School of Engineering swept Aurora over the weekend, punctuating the sweep with a 5-2 win on Sunday. The win was the fourth in a row for the Raiders, who are 4-4 on the year. Patrick Dwyer scored twice and Casey Moneer tallied two assists. Austin Campbell made 13 saves. In Friday’s 6-5 overtime win, Omar Mullan scored with 18.8 seconds to play to help finish off a furious comeback for the Raiders. MSOE trailed 5-1 in the game before fighting back for the win. Mullan scored twice in the victory, while Nick Kohn tallied 21 saves.

WIAC – In a battle of nationally-ranked opponents, Wisconsin-Stevens Point had the upper hand on Saturday as it knocked off previously unbeaten Adrian 6-3 on the road. The win avenged a 6-4 loss to the Bulldogs earlier in the month. The No. 9 Pointers held a 33-27 advantage in shots and led the fourth-ranked Bulldogs 2-1 after one period. They stretched their lead to 3-1 after two periods. Six different players scored in the victory, while Kyle Brodie and Scott Henegar came up with two assists apiece. Brandon Jaeger made 24 saves as the Pointers improved to 6-2 on the season. It was the fourth win in the last five games for Stevens Point, which was the national runner-up last season … Wisconsin-Eau Claire went on the road Saturday and knocked off Augsburg 3-1, beating the Auggies for the fifth time in their last six meetings. The Blugolds, ranked No. 13 in the country, are 11-0-2 against MIAC schools since January of last season. Ross Andersen scored twice in the win, pushing his goal total to six on the year, and Ethan Nauman added a goal as well as Eau Claire improved to 4-2-2. Nauman has also tallied six goals on the season. Tyler Green made 25 saves and is 3-0-1 on the year. The victory over the Auggies ended a three-game winless streak where Eau Claire never scored more than two goals in a game. Saturday’s win marked the fifth time this year that the Blugolds have scored at least three goals in a game.

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