NCHA remains dominant in nonconference play
The NCHA once again proved dominant over nonconference opponents last weekend, going 7-1-1 against MCHA, MIAC, ECAC East and NESCAC opponents.
Wisconsin-Stevens Point won the Elmira Invitational with wins over Elmira (6-4) and Williams (5-1) last Saturday and Sunday. St. Scholastica also swept its nonconference weekend, beating Lawrence 6-1 on Friday and 10-1 on Saturday. Wisconsin-Eau Claire picked up a victory on the weekend, beating up Lawrence 7-2 Friday night. Lake Forest was able to pick up three points on the weekend with a win and a tie against Marian. St. Norbert picked up the only loss of the weekend, dropping its Friday night contest 4-3, but turned the tables Saturday with a 6-1 victory.
Wisconsin-River Falls: The Falcons took the holiday weekend off and this week take to the ice against Wisconsin-Superior on Friday night and St. Scholastica on Saturday at the Hunt Arena in River Falls. The Falcons still sit atop the NCHA standings with eight points, two points ahead of St. Norbert and four points ahead of Lake Forest, Wisconsin-Stevens Point and Wisconsin-Stout.
St. Norbert: The Green Knights stumbled a bit on the weekend, dropping their Friday night game with MIAC rival St. John’s 4-3.
St. John’s jumped out to 1-0 lead 7:18 into the first, but the Knights’ Trent Dickson was able to tie it up two minutes later. In the second period, St. John’s added two more to extend their lead to 3-1 after two periods.
In the third, Faron Duthie took matters into his own hands for the Knights, scoring the first two goals of the period to tie it up at three. The Knights couldn’t punch another one through, though, and eventually gave up the game-winner with just :36 left in regulation.
Saturday was a different story. The Knights came out firing on all cylinders as Kyle Peterson picked up two first period goals, Brant Kersey and Maris Ziedens scored in the second and Peterson and Ryan Howdle finished off the Johnnies in the third for a 6-1 Green Knights victory.
This weekend, the Green Knights play host to the Beasts From the East. On Friday night, the Cadets of Norwich University invade the friendly confines of the Cornerstone Arena and then on Saturday the Middlebury College Panthers stop in.
Lake Forest: The Foresters took three of four points from Marian College last week, winning Friday 6-5 and tying the Sabres 3-3 on Saturday.
The Foresters dominated the first two periods leading 4-0 on goals from Adrian Wong, Frankie DeMasi and David Evans (2).
The third period, however, was a different story. The Sabres scored the first four goals of the period to tie the game at four. DeMasi picked up his second goal of the game to take back the lead and Matt Bruni added the eventual game-winner before the Sabres picked up their fifth goal.
Saturday, the Foresters again got out to an early lead, leading 2-1 after one on goals from Erik Hawkins and Dan Holmes. Andrew Jay scored the only goal of the second period and pushed the Lake Forest lead to two goals. The Foresters couldn’t hold off the third period comeback of the Sabres giving up two third period goals, tying the game at three. There was no scoring in overtime.
The Foresters play only one game this weekend, making the road trip to Eau Claire to take on the Blugolds in an NCHA matchup.
Wisconsin-Stevens Point: The Pointers headed East last Thursday at 4-2, with hopes of returning to Wisconsin 6-2, and they would do just that with wins at the Elmira Invitational over host Elmira College (6-4) and Williams College 5-1.
Saturday, the Pointers’ Ryan Maxson picked up his first goal of the weekend at the 8:13 mark, only to see the Soaring Eagles come back with a goal of their own 1:20 later. Zenon Kochan got into the act later in the period putting the Pointers back up by one. Elmira finished off the period with the tying goal with just :19 second remaining.
The second period was much like the first. Back and forth action and both teams picking up two more goals each. The Pointers’ scoring came from Matt Interbartolo and Bryan Fricke.
In the final stanza, the Pointers took charge and finally finished off the Eagles. Mikhail Salienko picked up his second goal of the season and Mike Slobodnik tucked away an empty-netter with just :43 remaining in regulation.
Sunday’s contest didn’t take as much work. The Pointers scored once in the first, three times in the second and once again in the third to beat the Williams College Ephs 5-1.
In the first period, the Ephs got on the board first, but Maxson tied it at one, with a power-play goal at the 14:00 mark.
The second period was all Stevens Point. Defenseman Ernie Thorp picked up the eventual game winning goal 1:51 into the period and Nick Glander and Maxson also picked up second period goals to extend the Point lead to 4-1.
In the third, the Pointers played more defensively, holding the Ephs scoreless. Kochan picked up the lone third period goal with help from Maxson and Joel Marshall.
The weekend results helped the Pointers hold on to Top-5 status in the latest USCHO.com poll, slipping two spots from the preseason poll to #4.
The Pointers are also hosting Norwich and Middlebury this weekend. Friday, the #1 ranked Middlebury Panthers make their first visit ever to the K.B. Willett Arena in Stevens Point. Then on Saturday, the Pointers play host to Norwich University.
UW-Stout: The Blue Devils took the holiday weekend off and return to action this weekend at home with games against St. Scholastica on Friday and Wisconsin-Superior on Saturday.
The last time the Blue Devils played this set of travel partners, they were able to sweep the weekend series, beating Superior 2-1 and St. Scholastica 5-4.
Wisconsin-Eau Claire: The Blugolds played only one game during the holiday week and picked up a nonconference 7-2 win over Lawrence University of the MCHA.
The two teams went scoreless in the first period but combined for eight goals in the second.
Eau Claire’s Jamie Minor picked up his ninth and tenth goals of the season Kuzma Kurakin, Jeff Pradal, Tim Murphy all scored before Lawrence was able to dent the scoreboard, cutting the lead to four. Mark Jalcovik and Brian Buskowiak also scored in the second for the Blugolds. Lawrence had the only goal in the third, but it would be far from enough.
The Blugolds host Lake Forest this Saturday in an NCHA matchup.
St. Scholastica: The Saints had an easy go of it over the holiday weekend, beating up on Lawrence 6-1 on Friday and 10-1 on Saturday.
Friday night, Jeff Hall and Mark Kozuki scored in the first putting the Saints out in front 2-1. In the second period, Neil Runbeck and Rob Kehr both scored for the Saints and in the third Runbeck and Oyler finished out the scoring for St. Scholastica.
On Saturday, scoring came like votes in a 1930s Chicago mayoral election: early and often. Scott Forrest, Kozuki, Kehr, Oyler, Brian Charneski, and Alec Nelson all scored first period for the Saints. Scoring slowed down to the pace of the current Florida presidential election with only two goals scored between the two teams. Forrest picked up his second of the game for the Saints, who lead 7-1 after two periods. St. Scholastica added three more goals in third from Oyler, Phil McDonald and Kyle Anntilla.
The Saints take to the road this weekend, traveling to Stout on Friday night and River Falls on Saturday.
Wisconsin-Superior: Despite their 0-2 start in the NCHA, the Yellow Jackets sit in the seventh spot in the latest USCHO.com poll.
The ‘Jackets had last week off, but are back on the ice this weekend, on the road at River Falls on Friday and Stout on Saturday in a pair of NCHA games.
Game(s) of the week:
The NCHA is currently 31-3-3 against non-NCHA opponents and 4-0-0 against Eastern opponents this season; league members are hoping that trend continues with Middlebury and Norwich coming West.
Friday, top-ranked Middlebury heads to fourth-ranked Stevens Point. The Pointers are undefeated at home this season in four games. The Panthers have yet to be scored upon in the same number of games. Special teams will play a big part in Friday’s matchup. Middlebury is six for 20 on the power play, clicking along at a 30% clip. On the other bench, the Pointers have killed off 95.3% of their 54 shorthanded situations.
Two hours away, St. Norbert is hosting the 2000 NCAA Champion Norwich Cadets, who are struggling a bit following the Primelink at Middlebury last weekend. The Cadets dropped their first game to Potsdam of the SUNYAC, and then lost Plattsburgh on Saturday, dropping them to 2-2 on the season. The Green Knights are also coming off a disappointing weekend after splitting with St. John’s.
Saturday, the visitors switch locations and teams, with Norwich visiting Stevens Point and Middlebury visiting St. Norbert.
Predictions? Two teams will win on Friday and then two teams will win on Saturday. That’s all you’re going to get out of me.