Dear Santa (West edition)

Dear Santa,

It’s almost Christmas and there are a handful of items I’d like to ask you to bring the teams in the MIAC, NCHA and WIAC.

I know you are a busy man at this time of the year, but if you could help out with the following requests it would be a great thing and the teams I am including on this list would be forever thankful for the gifts.

So without further delay, here goes nothing.

St. Olaf could really use a win or two in conference play. The Oles, who have dropped six in a row, are 0-4-2 in the MIAC this season and just 2-8-3 overall. They could use some luck on the road as well. St. Olaf is 0-5 away from home and their first three games of 2016 are on the road.

Concordia (Minn.) would love to remain unbeaten in conference play the rest of the season. The Cobbers are 4-0 in the MIAC and 5-4 overall. It will be next to impossible to stay perfect in a highly competitive conference, but hey, if anyone can deliver that, it’s you.

St. Thomas really wants to win another regular-season championship in the MIAC, and right now, things are looking pretty good for the Tommies. They are 7-4-2 overall and 5-1 in the conference. Seven players have scored three or more goals and Joe Morris has made 351 saves. There is no question the talent is there to win a title. But your help certainly would hurt the Tommies’ cause either.

St. Norbert would greatly appreciate a continuation of its unbeaten streak as it heads into the new year. The Green Knights are the No. 1 team in the nation and haven’t lost in their last 10 games. They have thrived off a high-powered offense that has cranked out 60 goals and a defense that has given up only 16 goals. With your help, they might not lose a game the rest of the year.

Adrian could use your help in keeping pace with St. Norbert in the NCHA title race. The Bulldogs are in second place, sitting only a point behind the Green Knights, and they are headed into the break riding a five-game win streak. They have been tough to slow down, scoring 51 goals, and they have been nearly as impressive on defense, having given up only 23 goals.

 (Mike Dickie     (517)263-4261   Adrian, MI/Adrian College Athletics)
Kyle Brothers needs to step up his game if Adrian is to contend with St. Norbert for an NCHA championship (photo: Adrian College Athletics).

Concordia (Wis.) has been one of the hottest teams in the NCHA and heads into Christmas on a four-game win streak. The Falcons have been one of the league’s surprise contenders and could use your help in keeping pace in the title chase. They would love it if you could give them wins over St. Norbert and Adrian when they play the two teams next month. The Falcons will play a home-and-home with the Green Knights and play two road games against the Bulldogs.

Wisconsin-River Falls has the early lead in the battle for the WIAC championship and the Falcons would love it if you could keep them in that position going forward. They have won four of their last five overall and have one of the more balanced teams in the country as 12 players have scored two or more goals. Kyle Gattelaro leads the way with five goals.

Wisconsin-Stevens Point went into the season as the favorite to win the conference championship and still has plenty of time to live up to the hype. What the Pointers could use is continued success on the road. Stevens Point is 5-2 away from home and will play four of its first five games in the new year on the road. Success during that stretch would be a great present for the Pointers, who have visions of winning the national title (no offense to sugar plums) this year.

Wisconsin-Eau Claire has been a little up and down lately, going 2-2 in its last four, and consistency would prove to be a great gift for the Blugolds. Eau Claire has not won more than two games in a row this season and extended win streak would certainly make for a great gift. Eau Claire plays three of its first five games on the road in 2016 and if you could put consistency under its tree this Christmas, it could go a long way in helping it thrive in the second half of the season.

I’m not sure which Christmas wishes in my letter you will be able to honor, but I guess the most important thing is that you deliver an exciting and competitive second half of the season for all hockey fans.


Brian Lester