STEVENS POINT, Wis. — Despite being outshot 57-25 and being thoroughly dominated for most of the game, a hat trick from Joe Long and 52 saves by freshman Matt Wanvig paved the way for an opportunistic Hamline team as they defeated Wisconsin-Stevens Point 7-5 at K.B. Willett Arena.
In a game in which they never trailed Hamline would waste no time jumping on the Pointers, and they would do it shorthanded.
Down a man in the first minute of the game, Piper forward Dustin Fulton would jump on a Pointer turnover at the Hamline blue line and race the length of the ice unchallenged, beating Pointer goaltender Ryan Miech on the breakaway to put Hamline up 1-0. Time of the goal: 0:57.
Though Point was constantly threatening the Hamline net the Pipers were able to extend their lead to 2-0 at the 7:09 mark, as with Pointer defenseman Karl Larsen laying injured on the ice, Hamline grabbed a loose puck in the neutral zone and were rewarded with a 2-on-1 opportunity that ended with forward Joe Law beating Miech.
The Pointers were by no means ready to roll over and would answer a mere fifteen seconds later. A loose puck following the ensuing faceoff resulted in the Pointers’ converting on a 2-on-1 opportunity of their own. Wanvig would give up one of his few rebounds of the night, deflecting a shot from Pointer forward Sean Fish directly to forward Russell Law who would bang it home to make it a 2-1 game.
Still in the first period, Hamline would reclaim a two goal lead though this time they would take advantage of a 4-on-3 power play. Long would pick up his second goal as after walking the puck in on Miech and getting him to commit low, he would go to the backhand and beat Miech just inside the far post. The goal would stake the Pipers to a 3-1 first intermission lead, despite them being outshot 17-7.
Early in the second period, it was the Pointers striking back again with arguably the prettiest goal of the night. On a power play of their own, Stevens Point forward Matt Buha would send a low pass from the point on net and Ross Johnson would net his first goal as a Pointer by deflecting the pass over Wanvig’s left shoulder.
Just over two minutes later the Pointers appeared to finally overcome their shaky start as a Russell Law pass set up a Sean Fish breakaway. The wrister just grazed the inside of the post before going in and it appeared that with 13:40 left in the second period and the game now deadlocked at three, the Pointers were set to pull away.
Hamline had other ideas.
With only 1:26 remaining in the period the Pipers would score again on the power play, this time with a 5-on-3 advantage. In a setup reminiscent of the Pointers’ game-tying goal, Hamline forward Steve Festler would send a low shot on net that Matt Buckley was able to deflect over Miech to put Hamline back on top at 4-3.
Entering the third period, the Pointers held a 35-16 shot advantage and it still seemed only a matter of time until they would put Hamline away. Once again, Hamline had other plans.
With Zanvig turning back a barrage of Pointer shots to maintain the Hamline lead, the Pipers notched two more goals in the first fifteen minutes of the period to extend their lead to an insurmountable 6-3.
The Pointers would cut the lead to 6-5 in the closing minutes on goals by Law and Dan Francis, but it would not be enough as a Jim Erickson empty-netter would ice the 7-5 win for the Pipers.
Hamline moves to 1-2-0 on the season and travels to UW-Eau Claire tomorrow, while the Pointers drop to 2-1-0 and will host Bethel.
Making his first career start, Miech finished with 18 saves in the losing effort.