While perched on top with its No. 1-ranking, St. Norbert (13-2, 7-1 NCHA) cruised to two nonconference victories over St. John’s and Concordia (Minn.) by an 11-1 combined score during the weekend.
The Green Knights, who hadn’t played in a month, have won 11 of 12 games with a 2-1 setback to St. Scholastica Dec. 4 the lone blemish. St. Norbert hosts Wisconsin-Eau Claire in Northern Collegiate Hockey Association play this weekend.
In Friday’s 6-0 rout of St. John’s, Alain Joanette scored twice and added an assist while Taylor Langford, Zach McDonald, Cody Keefer and Seth Soley also netted goals.
St. Norbert, which led 1-0 after two period, responded with five goals in the final frame. Mike Martin made 14 saves for the shutout.
A number of starters, including Johan Ryd, Kyle Stroh and B.J. O’Brien, sat out as Green Knights coach Tim Coghlin opted to give others playing time.
“It looked like we had been off for a month,” Coghlin said. “We have a lot of little parts of our game we need to clean up and get better.”
Keefer scored two goals while Brandon Hoogenboom, Ryd and Langford added solo efforts in the 5-1 win over Concordia on Saturday.
Ryd’s short-handed tally in the second period raised his game-winning goal total to four, which ties him with Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s Tyler Romasco for No. 1 in the nation. The junior marksman (5 goals, 10 assists, 15 points) stripped the puck before bearing down on the Cobbers’ net.
“(Ryd) has that knack for big games; he’s scored some big goals at critical times,” St. Norbert’s coach said. “He’s a pressure guy. He’s physical, he finishes his checks and he’s a pleasure to have.”
O’Brien made 20 saves while surrendering a lone goal to Concordia’s Trent Johnson on a power play with 52 seconds remaining. O’Brien’s 1.37 goals-against and .909 winning percentage ranks fourth nationally, while the senior’s sterling .940 save-percentage is sixth.
No Ole love
In beating then No. 5 Gustavus Adolphus Friday, St. Olaf (5-6-3, 0-3-3) would have made a giant step to emerge from the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference basement, except the road encounter was considered a nonconference game.
Gustavus and St. Olaf both play in the MIAC, right? The quirk is due to MIAC schools simply needing to fill out the schedule, Oles’ sports information director Mike Ludwig said in an e-mail.
MIAC teams will resume conference play this weekend in a push for the playoffs. The league ‘s top five teams qualify for post-season play with the winner earning an automatic NCAA tournament bid.
The nonconference status of Friday’s game didn’t detract from an outstanding performance by the Oles’ goalie Nick Krauss, who stopped 37 of 40 Gustie shots in preserving the win. The visiting Oles’ jumped out to a 4-0 lead on goals by Aaron Molstad, Peter Rohn, Britton Smith and Charlie Raskob.
Rohn, Smith and Raskob tallies all came on the power play.
In the third period, Ross Ring-Jarvi, Sam Blaisdello and Ilya Kravtchouk replied with goals to pull within one. Kravtchouk’s unassisted goal came with the goalie pulled for an extra attacker with 31 seconds left as Gustavus (9-3-1, 3-2-1) riddled Krauss with 16 shots.
“Nick Krauss was the best player on the ice tonight,” Gustavus Coach Brett Petersen said in a statement on the university’s web site. “We had chances, but he did an outstanding job keeping us out of the net.”
St. Olaf’s good fortune only lasted 24 hours, as the team lost 3-2 in overtime to Augsburg in another nonconference tilt Saturday. The Oles’ Derek Grogan and Isak Tranvik scored to open a 2-0 lead in the first period before the Auggies’ John Lennartson struck twice to tie it with 3:11 left.
Augsburg’s Mario Mjelleli netted the game-winner 1:40 into overtime.