Hamline gains edge in battle of second-place teams

No. 12 Hamline’s 4-1 victory over No. 9 Milwaukee School of Engineering was the marquee matchup over the New Year’s weekend, pitting two teams who are at similar stations in their respective leagues.
The Minnesota Intercollegiate Hockey Association Pipers are (3-0-1) are in second place with 7 points, which one point behind No. 15 St. Thomas (4-2). The Raiders (6-0) also sit in second in the Midwest Collegiate Hockey Association behind No. 7 Adrian (7-1).
Brian Arrigoni scored twice, bagging one of two Piper empty-netters, while Beau Christian stopped 32 of 33 shots for Hamline (7-3-1). Jordan Van Gilder and Austun Tavis also had goals for the home side, which led 2-1 going into the third period.
Carl Lindblad scored MSOE’s lone goal, which came on a delayed penalty with the goalie pulled for an extra attacker at 13:32 in the first period.
For MSOE (9-0), the nonconference loss was the second in its last three games after a torrid 8-0 start.
The setback also marked the second time this season Raiders’ talisman Jordan Keizer (14 goals and 5 assists for 19 points) was held scoreless. The sophomore sniper also went pointless in the team’s 2-1 loss to No. 15 St. Thomas Dec. 10.
“They’re not going to go in every night,” said MSOE Coach Mark Ostapina, who commended Keizer’s “outstanding” play. “I didn’t think he would score 50 goals. Opportunities were there and saves were being made. That’s the game of hockey.”
Keizer’s 1.27 goals-per-game average continues to lead the nation while his 1.73 points per game ranks 12th.
The Pipers kept Keizer and junior Todd Krupa (9-6-15) in their sights, Hamline Coach Scott Bell said.
“With 14 goals in (11 games), you better know where he’s at on the ice,” Bell added.
In goal, Christian withstood a Raiders onslaught by turning away 15 of 16 shots in the opening 20 minutes. The junior netminder, who underwent offseason hip surgery, raised his record to 5-1-1.
Goaltending is one plus as the Pipers enter the second half.
“I think we’re in a nice spot right now,” Bell said.
Despite the setback, MSOE Coach Mark Ostapina remained bullish on his youthful squad. The Raiders delve into the meat of the MCHA schedule with a home-and-home series with Lake Forest (2-9, 2-4) Friday and Saturday.
“It’s a bunch of young men who love playing the game and there is passion there for going out and competing very hard,” Ostapina said. “There are guys who want to be out there, who want to play hard and bleed Raider red.”
Cobbers roll
Concordia (MN) extended its six-game unbeaten with a resounding sweep over visiting Northland, 6-3 and 7-4, Dec. 30-31. The pair of victories gave the Cobblers a strong head wind heading into the new year, which includes a rare Monday home contest with Finlandia.
Concordia (4-5-3, 1-2-3) faces Wisconsin-Stevens Point Friday and No. 3 St. Norbert on the road before returning to MIAC play at St. Thomas Jan. 14-15. Though 3-3 in nonconference affairs, the Cobbers have to spiff up their MIAC mark to have a shot at the playoffs.
Special-teams play has been at the forefront of the recent surge.
In the 6-3 win over Northland, Jaren Collen scored twice – including on one of two Cobber short-handed efforts – while Aaron Wheeler, Brian Kang, Pat Dietz and Ben Payne also banged in goals. Wheeler’s first-period tally also came while Concordia was a man down.
The Cobbers’ power play accounted for four goals, including two by Caleb Suderman, in the 7-4 victory the following day. Payne scored two even-strength goals with Kang adding another. Nick Thielen and Marc Harrie netted the other power-play tallies while Erick Gault finished with three assists.
Freshmen goalie Kelly Andrew picked up both victories to raise his record to 4-1-3.
Net future
Adrian’s 6-2 loss to Manhattanville featured the inauspicious debut of freshman Mike Morissette, who played the last 8:20 in the Northfield Field Bank Tournament first-round contest Dec. 31. The LaSalle, Ontario native gave up a goal but made three saves after taking over for starter Brad Fogal, who surrendered three goals.
Morissette is expected to be the heir apparent to Fogal, who is one of 17 seniors on the Bulldogs’ roster.
Morissette helped backstop the Ontario Junior Hockey League Oakville Blades to a Central Canadian title last season, going 25-7 in the regular campaign with six shutouts and a 2.48 goals-against average. He also appeared in 8 playoff games.