St. Scholastica off to fast start, looking to keep points coming

St. Scholastica sophomore forward Dylan Nowakowski has been a consistent offensive performer this season for the Saints. (photo: CSS Athletics).

Last season, St. Scholastica had a rocky start to say the least, going 4-9-0 in the first half.

The Saints then exploded to a 9-5-1 second half. Their season ended with a loss to St. Norbert in the NCHA semifinals.

So far this season, St. Scholastica has been able to take that second-half momentum and catapult it to a successful beginning of the season. The Saints are off to a 6-1-2 overall start, while holding a 4-0-2 conference record.

“I think last season was a motivator for us,” said Saints’ coach Mark Wick earlier this season. “We had a good stretch in the end with a lot of big games that left a bitter taste in our mouth. Our team can be in that top mix. There were a lot of positives out of last season.”

The Saints suffered their sole loss this season in a hard-fought 3-2 game against old conference foe Wisconsin-Superior.

This past weekend, the Saints downed St. Norbert 4-2, handing the Green Knights their first loss of the season. The win marked the first time Wick has beaten the top-ranked team of the nation.

Senior forward Chad Golanowski scored two goals as he scored the first goal of the game and also added a shorthanded goal in the second period.

After scoring four unanswered goals, it looked like St. Norbert was back in the game, scoring two of their own goals, but the Saints held on to their lead.

Three of the top five scorers in the conference are St. Scholastica forwards. Senior Brandon Nowakowski (6-5-11) leads the pack, followed by his younger brother, sophomore Dylan Nowakowski (5-5-10). Rounding out the group of skilled scorers is senior Paul Marcoux (3-6-9).

Brandon is tied for first in the conference in power-play scoring, having four goals and one assist with the man-advantage. The Saints’ power-play has shined, going 9-for-22 (40.9%) in conference play. They have the second best power play in the nation.

The Saints have two series left in 2013. This upcoming weekend, they will host Lake Forest, a team that is two points behind St. Scholastica in the standings and will look solidify their spot in the top half of the NCHA.

The team will close out the year with nonconference games against St. John’s and St. Thomas. As the Saints look forward to the rest of the season, they’ll draw from their past success to drive them through.

Around the League

Freshman forward Blake Roubos had a five-point night in Lawrence’s 6-6 tie against Gustavus Adolphus on Friday night. Roubos scored two goals, including the game-tying goal. The goals, along with three assists contributed to Roubos’ seven-game point streak that was halted on Saturday night. Roubos’ efforts gained him the NCHA offensive player of the week honors.

NCHA defensive player of the week went to Concordia (Wis.) senior defenseman Brandon Bayer, who had four assists on the weekend series against Bethel. Bayer had two assists in Friday’s 5-5 tie. He then added an assist on a power-play goal and another on the game-winner as the Falcons downed Bethel 4-2 on Saturday.

Lawrence and Marian did not fare well in the NCHA/MIAC Thanksgiving Showdown. Lawrence went to the aforementioned 6-6 tie against Gustavus Adolphus before dropping a 5-1 loss to St. Olaf. Marian suffered a 4-3 loss in Friday’s game against St. Olaf before a 3-2 loss against Gustavus Adolphus.

Adrian is the lone team left in the conference who has not lost this season, toting a 9-0-0 overall record. The Bulldogs hosted nonconference opponents last weekend as they downed Fredonia 7-2 before a 2-1 overtime win against Nazareth to hold onto their streak. Seven different skaters scored in the win over Fredonia.

St. Norbert, St. Scholastica and Adrian remained unbeaten within the conference. The Green Knights and Bulldogs are tied for the top spot in the conference with 12 points each. St. Scholastica is sitting in second with 10 points.