The weekend that was in the West Region playoffs…
Thrilling is perhaps the best way to describe the semifinal round of the MIAC tournament Saturday. St. John’s edged rival St. Thomas 2-1 in overtime while regular-season champion Augsburg used a three-goal outburst in the final seven minutes of action to knock off defending tournament champion Hamline by a 5-2 score.
The Johnnies trailed 1-0 with two minutes to play against the Tommies before Joe Freemark scored with 1:40 left to tie the score and force overtime. Andrew Commers delivered the game-winning goal less than two minutes into the extra session to propel the Johnnies into the MIAC title game.
St. John’s extended its unbeaten streak to 10 games as it took advantage of a stellar performance by Saxton Soley, who stopped 23 shots, including all 13 that he faced in the second and third periods to keep the Johnnies within striking distance of a comeback. Johnny Rosium scored the lone goal for the Tommies. St. John’s improved to 13-9-4.
Augsburg and Hamline were tied at 2-2 at the end of two periods before Drew Allen, Corbin Chapman and Nate Flynn all scored goals in the third to push the Auggies to the win.
The Auggies actually jumped on top 2-0 thanks to goals by Corbin Chapman and Will Peterson before Hamline tied the score behind goals from Garrett Schmitz and Mitch McPherson. Jordyn Kaufer nailed down the win as he stopped 24 shots.
Augsburg is 16-8-2 on the year and is aiming for its first MIAC tournament title since the 1997-98 campaign. The Auggies were actually swept by St. John’s in the final weekend of the regular season, but Augsburg had already clinched the conference crown. This time, a berth in the NCAA tourney will be on the line.
Adrian punched its ticket to the NCHA title game with semifinal series sweep of St. Scholastica over the weekend.
The Bulldogs defeated the Saints 4-2 in both games and improved to 4-0 on the year against the Saints. Adrian, which is 23-2 all-time in conference tournament action and 23-3-1 on the season, will now get a shot to defend its Harris Cup crown next weekend against St. Norbert.
Adrian finished off the series Saturday, winning its sixth consecutive game. Austin Hervey scored twice while Jeremy Olinyk and Cory Dunn dished out two assists apiece. Kevin Entmaa pushed his record to 14-0 on the season. He is the only unbeaten goaltender in NCAA hockey.
Saturday’s game was actually tied at 2-2 after Derek Sutliffe and Keegan Bruce both scored. Brian Bachnak broke the tie with the first game-winning goal of his career.
St. Norbert secured its spot in the conference title game with a sweep of Marian, which entered the semifinal series riding a 13-game win streak, the longest in the country. The Green Knights won the opener and closed out the series with a 5-2 win. They are 23-2-2 on the season.
The Green Knights scored three goals in the first 13 minutes of the game. Michael Hill struck for his 15th goal of the year in the win while Roman Uchyn came through with his 13th goal. Ross Pavek pushed the lead to 3-0 with his seventh goal.
Gianni Mangone and Devin Stuermer both scored to cut the Marian lead to 4-2 in the third before Erik Cooper struck for his 12th goal of the season to finish off the scoring. Cooper also dished out two assists and has scored at least one point in 19 consecutive games.
Wisconsin-Stevens Point is headed to the WIAC tournament title game for the third consecutive season after taking out Wisconsin-Eau Claire 2-1 in overtime Saturday. The two-time national runner-up played the Blugolds to a 2-2 tie in the opening game of the series Friday before capping off the series with Saturday’s thrilling win.
Jacob Barber and Jono Davis both scored goals for the Pointers, who improved to 20-5-2 on the season. Stevens Point had lost both games to the Blugolds in the regular season but entered the weekend hungry for revenge. Max Milosek played a key role in the win as he stopped 28 shots. Adam Knochenmus scored the lone goal for Eau Claire. Stevens Point held a 34-29 advantage in shots.
The Pointers will face Wisconsin-River Falls for the championship – the Falcons won the title a year ago.
River Falls opened its semifinal series against Wisconsin-Stout with a 3-1 win before playing the Blue Devils to a 1-1 tie in game two. Because the Falcons won the opener, a tie was good enough to propel them into the title game.
Cory Lushanko scored the lone goal for the Falcons while Tanner Milliron made 28 saves, including 10 in the third period, to help River Falls secure the win. The third-period goal by Lushanko was his third of the season.