NCHA wrap: Nov. 1

Green Knights return with strong start
After hanging up its third NCAA Division III championship banner, the St. Norbert men’s hockey team returned to business.
After opening the season on Oct. 23 with a win over Concordia, the Green Knights swept NCHA rival Wisconsin-Stevens Point last weekend. On Friday, St. Norbert skated to a resounding 7-0 shutout at home, then finished off the Pointers with a 4-0 victory at Stevens Point Saturday.
In goal, it doesn’t appear that David Jacobson will endure a sophomore slump. After enjoying an all-conference season as a rookie, the Green Knights netminder already has three shutouts this season.
Can Jacobson keep his scoreless streak alive? We’ll see this weekend, as St. Norbert heads to Minnesota with road games against Augsburg on Friday and fifth-ranked Gustavus Adolphus on Saturday.
Blugolds trounce rivals
Wisconsin-Eau Claire kicked off a season of optimism by sweeping rival Wisconsin-Stout last weekend. Wis.-Eau Claire won with scores of 4-2 and 4-1.
Blugolds senior Andrew Wilcox, coming off an impressive junior season, began his final season with a bang, scoring three goals in two games.
The two rivals didn’t pull any punches: Wis.-Eau Claire logged 41 penalty minutes in the opener, while Wis.-Stout sat in the box 29 minutes of game two.
Wis.-Stout will have to wait awhile to get revenge. The two teams don’t face off again until Feb. 1 at Stout.
With their impressive wins, the Blugolds cracked the Men’s D-III Poll, coming in at No. 15.
This weekend, Wis.-Eau Claire heads to Hamline and Bethel, while Wis.-Stout returns home to battle St. John’s and Concordia (Minn.).
Border battle notches split
The Minnesota-Wisconsin rivalry intensified last weekend, as St. Scholastica and Wisconsin-Superior opened the season by splitting two games at Superior.
On Friday, the Saints cruised to a 5-1 win; on Saturday however, the Yellowjackets prevailed, 6-4.
In the opener, the Saints’ Brett Corcoran, who led the NCHA in scoring last year, notched his first goal of the season on a power play. In the second game, Wis.-Superior outshot St. Scholastica 34-17 and spent just 14 minutes in the penalty box.
In my season preview, I picked Wis.-Superior to finish fourth and St. Scholastica fifth, so it’s no surprise that they split their opening series. Expect both squads to scratch and claw for wins in the rigid NCHA all season.
These two teams will meet again on Jan. 24 on St. Scholastica’s home ice.
Wisconsin-River Falls hits the polls
Wis.-River Falls opened its season by feasting on nonconference competition, cruising to wins over Finlandia and Marian. The Falcons outscored their foes, 12-2.
Defenseman George Malliaras, expected to be a big contributor to the success of Wis.-River Falls’ blue line, finished the weekend with six assists.
The Falcons don’t begin conference play until Nov. 9-10, when they travel to St. Norbert. After their successful weekend, the Falcons are ranked 12 in the latest Men’s D-III Poll.
This week, NCHA teams will take a break from each other, with every team squaring off against nonconference opponents. Wis.-Stevens Point, after getting swept by top-ranked St. Norbert, won’t have it any easier when it travels to No. 5 Gustavus Adolphus on Friday.