MIAC Gets Some Revenge As Interleague Schedule Continues
The NCHA faltered a little last weekend in its dominance of the MIAC. Wisconsin-Superior was the only NCHA team to finish the weekend with two wins, defeating both Gustavus Adolphus and St. Olaf. St. Norbert and Wisconsin-Stout went 1-0-1 and Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Wisconsin-River Falls and Lake Forest all split. Wisconsin-Eau Claire and St. Scholastica were the only NCHA teams to finish the weekend without at least one win.
Around the League
Wisconsin-River Falls: The NCHA-leading Falcons are the first team in the West to acquire 10 wins on the season, with their 10th coming on a 2-1 victory over Concordia-Moorhead Saturday.
Trailing 1-0 in the second period, Falcon leading scorer Shane Fukushima tied the game 6:31 in. Just over seven minutes later, Jared Anderson scored the game-winner, lifting the Falcons to the 2-1 win.
Sunday was a completely different story than the one the Falcons had been reading all season. St. John’s, fresh off a 5-1 drubbing at the hands of Wisconsin-Stout, dominated the Falcons until late in the third period, and led 2-0. Matt Elsen scored the lone Falcon goal with only 1:38 remaining in the third period cutting the to 2-1, and the Johnnies added an empty-net goal 22 seconds later to finish off the Falcons.
River Falls is one of the few NCHA teams in action this weekend, taking on Augsburg on Friday and Eau Claire on Saturday.
Wisconsin-Stout: The Blue Devils continued their hot play last weekend, ending with a 1-0-1 record. On Friday, they tied MIAC-leading Concordia-Moorhead, and Saturday they defeated St. John’s 5-1.
Friday, the Blue Devils and the Cobbers battled to a 2-2 tie. Erik Chilson got the Devils out to a 1-0 first-period lead, only to see the Cobbers score in the second to tie it at one. The Devils fell behind 2-1 in the third, but Matt Olson scored with 8:27 remaining to tie it at two.
Neither team was able to score in the five-minute overtime.
On Saturday, Stout took the lead in the first period and never gave it up. Brad Weappa got the Devils on the scoreboard 6:09 into the first period, followed five minutes later by Matt Olson, extending the lead to 2-0. St. John’s scored its lone goal to answer, rounding out the first period.
The second and third periods were all Stout. Aaron Decker and Nathan Legler both scored in the second and Andy Anderson added another in the third.
The Blue Devils are off until January 5 as they travel to St. Olaf, then head home for a matchup with Gustavus Adolphus on Saturday the sixth.
St. Norbert: The Green Knights got back on track this weekend after dropping their weekend series with Norwich and Middlebury a week ago. The Knights picked up three points with a win over St. Mary’s and a tie with St. Thomas.
Brant Kersey got the Knights on the board first on Friday night against St. Mary’s, but the Cardinals tied up the game before heading to the locker room after 20 minutes. In the second, the Knights once again took the lead on a goal from Trent Dickson and took the 2-1 lead into the third period.
In that final stanza, the Knights put three more goals on the board to finish off St. Mary’s. Ryan Nahorniak, Chris Bodnar and Shane Dickson all picked up tallies in the third.
Saturday was a bigger battle than some had thought it would be. St. Thomas, which has struggled early, took it to the Knights, leading 2-1 after two periods with the lone Knights goal coming from Felix Angst in the first. Chad Ashenberg tied the game early in the third, only to see the Tommies tie the game four minutes later. The Green Knights pulled the goalie with 1:16 remaining in the period and it paid off, with Bodnar picking up his second of the weekend with just four seconds remaining in regulation, tying it at three.
St. Norbert is taking the holidays off and returns to the ice on January 5 and 6 at Bethel and Augsburg.
Wisconsin-Stevens Point: The Pointers have two streaks going right now; neither one is good.
In each of their last five game, the Pointers have had to battle back from at least one goal. The other streak is only two weekends long, but it’s even more disturbing than going down 1-0. For the last two weekend, the Pointers have been unable to win on Friday nights, meaning the best they can do on the weekend is split — which is what they’ve been able to do.
Last weekend was a perfect example. Friday, the Pointers dropped a 4-2 decision to Augsburg, falling behind 1-0 halfway through the first 20 minutes but tying it up on a goal by Matt Interbartolo. However, 30 seconds later, the Auggies regained the lead and also added another tally to close out the first-period scoring.
The lone tally of the second period came from the Pointers’ Ryan Maxson, who picked up his team-leading 11th goal of the season, cutting the Augsburg lead in half. But the Pointers weren’t able to bulge the twine in the third period and gave up another Augsburg goal, continuing the evil Friday trend.
Saturday, a completely different Stevens Point team showed up at Bethel. What made this game different is that Stevens Point had to come back from a two-goal deficit twice. While not a glowing statistic, it certainly showed this reporter that the Pointers are starting to come around.
The Pointers fell behind in the first just 2:48 in, but Maxson answered with his first of three goals on the night later in the period to tie the game at one. The Auggies scored again to round out the first.
The second period started out well for the Pointers as Justin Zimmerman picked up his first goal of the season 10 minutes in and Mikhail Salienko put the Pointers out in front for the first time on the weekend two-and-a-half minutes later. Bethel answered however, with three goals of their own, their last with just 34 seconds remaining in the period, to again take the lead and send it to the third.
The third period was all Stevens Point, however. Bryan Fricke picked up a shorthanded goal (the Pointers’ first of the season) eight minutes in and the floodgates opened. David Boehm continued his hot play, picking up his third goal in four games, and Maxson picked up goals two and three to finish out the scoring. The Pointers’ final three goals came in a span of just 3:35.
The Pointers are off for the holidays and return to action January 5 and 6. Friday, January 5, the Pointers are on the road to take on St. Thomas and then return to Stevens Point to take on St. Mary’s.
Wisconsin-Eau Claire: The Blugolds finished the weekend with an 0-2 record, but not for a lack of imagination. On Friday, the Blugolds fell behind early in the game and, despite three goals in the third, couldn’t muster enough offense to defeat Bethel, dropping the weekend opener 6-4.
On Friday, already trailing 1-0, Bryan Chambers tied the game at one at the 10:10 mark of the first. Bethel tied up the game, however, with a goal before the end of the first period.
Trailing 5-1 just three minutes into the third period, the Blugolds tried to come back. Tim Murphy picked up his first of the game only to see Bethel respond with another goal, pushing the lead back to four. Eau Claire responded with two more goals (Mike Lucenti and Murphy), but it wasn’t enough to pull out the win.
Saturday was one for the books. After a benign first period, Augsburg led the Blugolds 2-1, with the lone Blugold tally coming from Lucenti. All told, there were four penalties called in the first, two for each team.
During the second period, things totally unraveled.
Just 51 seconds into the middle period, both Augsburg’s Shawn Smith and Kuzma Kurakin of Eau Claire were called for matching cross-checking penalties, during which Augsburg extended the lead to two goals. Augsburg added another at the 4;12 mark to stake a three-goal lead, and it all went downhill from there for UWEC.
At 4:50 of the second, Tim Murphy was a called for a two-minute high-sticking penalty. Augsburg scored a power-play goal 1:29 later, and 25 seconds after that, Murphy was once again whistled, this time for a two-minute slashing penalty. Add another power-play goal for Augsburg 1:38 later, and then Augsburg’s five-on-five squad punched on in at 9:15 of the second to extend the lead to 7-1.
Things didn’t stay quiet long as Murphy was then whistled for a minor slashing penalty and also received a 10-minute misconduct. (We’re only halfway through the period at this point.)
The scoring was finished for the period, but the action was far from over. 33 seconds later, Augsburg’s Nick Murray and Eau Claire’s Jeff Pradal were whistled for coincidental slashing minors. 1:12 later, EC’s Chambers was called for a minor slashing penalty and EC’s Chris Hunter received a 10-minute misconduct. Just eight seconds later, WEC’s Nick Tietjen went off for a two-minute slashing call.
To recap, we’re now five-on-three, with five Blugolds and one Auggie sitting on their respective penalty benches. Tietjen’s penalty doesn’t start for another seven seconds. At 12:54 of the second period, Augsburg’s Andy Ness and EC’s Ben Manny join the crowd with coincidental slashing penalties. Finally, all penalties expire, and we’re back to five-on-five.
For about 16 seconds.
The Auggies’ Chad Moore got whistled for cross-checking at the 15:10 mark. Again, the penalty expires and we’re back to five-on-five, this time for 45 seconds before Mike Jackson of Augsburg gets whistled for a two-minute tripping call, and it’s back to five-on-four for EC. That penalty wouldn’t expire before the next penalty was assessed, as Augsburg goaltender Ryan McIntosh rounded out the period with a five-minute spearing penalty and the game disqualification that goes along with it.
All told, in the second period alone, there were 17 penalties for a total of 61 minutes.
But, unlike college basketball, there are three periods in a hockey game and the third was just as interesting as the second.
Entering the period leading 7-1, the Auggies were probably pretty content sitting back and playing defense.
Yeah, and I have a legitimate chance of getting on ESPN’s new “2-Minute Drill” game show.
The penalties came first, though. Kurakin picked up the first penalty of the third 6:51 into the final stanza, going off two minutes for elbowing, and just 52 seconds later, something snapped.
Eau Claire’s Jeff Pradal was called for a five-minute spearing penalty and game DQ, the Eau Claire bench was given a two-minute unsportsmanlike penalty, and Brian Buskowiak was given a 10-minute misconduct and yet another game DQ, putting the Blugolds at a three-on-five disadvantage for the next 3:08.
Well, that would be unless Augsburg scored, which they did at 10:09, putting us back at five-on-four. After getting back to five-on-five, Eau Claire once found the sin bin when Chris Hunter picked up two minutes for slashing and another two for cross-checking, putting the Blugolds down two men once again for the next 1:59.
Well, that would be unless Eau Claire did something like to what they did: pull the goalie.
It took Augsburg no time to prove that “logic” fruitless, scoring two power-play goals in less than 15 seconds, extending the lead to 11-1. With a 10-goal lead, in a MIAC arena, the leading team’s coach has the option of going to running time, which is what happened.
But wait — there’s more!
With approximately 7:05 remaining in the third period, Eau Claire’s Adam Sklader and Augsburg’s Shawn Smith were whistled for slashing minors. This was, evidently, all Eau Claire could handle, as the Blugolds skated off the ice, not to return.
The officials initially whistled the Eau Claire bench for a minor penalty for delay of game. After EC didn’t return to the ice, the officials checked the NCAA rule book and found under Rule 6-39A “refusal to obey an official’s decision is not permissible.” Rule 6-39A goes on to specify a sequence of penalties, ending with a forfeit, and that’s eventually what happened. Under the officials’ discretion, the game was forfeited in favor of Augsburg.
Through all 60 minutes of the game, there were 33 penalties called for 123 minutes in total. Included in those penalties were two spearing majors, three game disqualifications and six 10-minute misconducts. And since we’re into the holiday season, I’m sure there were also some turtle doves and partridges in pear trees.
What does this all mean? According to the NCAA, the stats for the players count toward season totals; however, the official score of a forfeit is 1-0.
Following that exciting game, the Blugolds are about due for a day off, which they get this Friday, but take to the ice again Saturday, playing host to Wisconsin-River Falls.
Lake Forest: The Foresters were one of the many teams in the NCHA to come away this weekend with only one win; that came on Saturday against St. Mary’s. Friday, they dropped their weekend opener to St. Thomas.
In the opener, the Tommies and Foresters battled through a scoreless first period, but the Tommies scored first in the second period. It took only two minutes for the Foresters to respond, as Dan Holmes picked up his fifth goal of the season, tying the game at one.
St. Thomas added another in the first to round out the scoring in the first 20 minutes.
The St. Thomas lead grew to 3-1 just 47 seconds into the third and the Foresters could only muster one more goal, from Dan Dimauro at 11:15.
On Saturday, the Foresters again fell behind in the first period, but Adrian Wong responded for the Foresters two-and-a-half minutes later.
The second saw the remainder of the scoring, and it was all for Lake Forest. Beau Llewellyn scored his first of the season at 2:06, Andrew Jay picked up his second of the season 31 seconds later and Wong his second of the game at 7:54.
The Foresters return to action on January 5 and 6 at Augsburg and Bethel.
Wisconsin-Superior: The Yellow Jackets seem to have things going their way lately. Following their sweep this weekend, they have now won five out of their last six games, and last weekend, the ‘Jackets picked up nonconference wins over Gustavus Adolphus and St. Olaf.
Friday night, the ‘Jackets and Gusties fought through a scoreless first period before the Gusties scored first in the second (10:10) — but Eric Pitoscia answered for Superior just 2:29 later, tying the game at one. Kris Wilson gave Superior the lead five minutes later with his third of the season. The Gusties added the tying goal in the final minute of the period, sending it to the third tied at two.
Any momentum the Gusties got from the late second-period goal was taken away early in the third as Alan Haspargen scored just 28 seconds in, putting the ‘Jackets out in front for good. Jay Stewart and Jeff Glowa added tallies later in the period to finish out the scoring.
Saturday, the ‘Jackets had little to worry about with St. Olaf.
After a scoreless first period, the ‘Jackets picked up two goals in the second from Rob Ziemmer and Stewart.
In the third, Superior picked up two more from Cameron Van Sandt and Stewart with his third on the weekend.
The Yellow Jackets have one game this Friday at St. Thomas, then take the holidays off, returning on the fifth and sixth of January against St. John’s and Concodia-Moorhead at home.
St. Scholastica: The Saints took two on the chin this weekend, dropping both games to the MIAC’s bottom two teams, St. Olaf and Gustavus Adolphus.
Friday, the Saints got things started on a good note as Josh Oyler scored just 15 seconds into the first period, but they saw their early lead slip to a tie later in the period.
In the second period, the Oles got on the board first, only to see their lead slip away, as Scholastica’s Sean Andrews picked up the tying goal to finish out the scoring in the second.
The Oles picked up the only goal in the third, dropping the Saints 3-2.
Saturday brought no relief for the Saints, falling behind 2-0 through the first 54:08. The lone Saint tally went to Phil McDonald at 17:04 of the third.
The break can’t get here early enough for the Saints, but they’ll have to wait one more week as they have a home-and-home nonconference series with Hamline this weekend.
Game(s) of the Week:
Looking over the schedule for this week, there isn’t much to pick from for a GOTW. I would like to say that the River Falls series with Augsburg and Eau Claire would do it, but other than seeing if Augsburg can play without starting goaltender Ryan McIntosh (serving one-game suspension for the game DQ vs. Eau Claire) or if Eau Claire has taken some anger-management classes and can cope with not having Jeff Pradal and Bryan Buskowiak, I just don’t see it. Hamline and St. Scholastica could be entertaining, but it is finals week, and it’s going to take something like Stevens Point vs. St. Norbert to rip my interest away from Beginning C++ and Astronomy.
So, with that said, I’ll give you, the reader, the option. You pick which game you want to see and go see it! Looking at the attendance lately in both MIAC and NCHA venues, the games could use some warm bodies in the seats. For instance, do you realize that only 200 people saw the fiasco between Eau Claire and Augsburg? Or that 75 — yes 75 — people saw the shootout between Stevens Point and Bethel?
What else is there to do on a Saturday night?
Go out and see a game!
Coming up for the second half of the season, I will be caving to a number of readers who have caringly emailed me. I will be doing predictions. There will be a catch, though: I will only pick the winners. No scores, just winners.
There will be no column next week, as I’m giving you the rest after reading all of this. The next NCHA report will be the week of January 3, previewing the last weekend of interleague play between the MIAC and NCHA, and not a minute too soon for this reporter.
Have a great holiday season, and we’ll see you in the next century!