West picks: Dec. 2

December has arrived and the action is heating up as the Division III hockey season makes its way toward the midway point of the season. St. Thomas and Hamline square off in a pivotal MIAC series, while St. Scholastica hits the road to take on Marian in a key NCHA series. In the WIAC, Wisconsin-River Falls battles both Wisconsin-Stevens Point and Wisconsin-Eau Claire this weekend.

Friday, Dec. 2

Wisconsin-River Falls (2-6-1) at Wisconsin-Stevens Point (6-2-1)
Wis.-River Falls has only one win its last four outings and has a 2-3 record on the road. The Falcons have managed only 20 goals — Joe Drapluk leads the way with five –and they’ll need to take their offensive success to another level to pull off this upset on the road. Wis.-Stevens Point is hoping to bounce back after a couple of losses and open WIAC play with a bang. The Pointers are unbeaten in four home games this season and aim to capitalize on an offense that has cranked out 42 goals, including 13 off the power play. Jacob Barber leads the way with seven goals and five assists. The last two meetings have ended with Wis.-Stevens Point winning 4-3. This one should be just as close. Wis.-Stevens Point 5-4

Wisconsin-Stout (4-4) at Wisconsin-Superior (4-6)
Wis.-Stout features 17 players who have scored at least one point and 11 of those players have tallied at least one goal. Riley Colvard leads the way with four goals, matching his total from last year. The Blue Devils have managed only three power-play goals but are solid against opposing teams’ power play, boasting an 87.5 percent penalty kill percentage. The Blue Devils are looking to snap a two-game losing streak. Wis.-Superior is led by Anton Svensson, who has come up with five goals and 10 assists. Jordan Neduzak has tallied six goals and eight assists for the Yellow Jackets. Wis.-Stout 5-3

Friday, Saturday Dec. 2-3

Concordia (4-4, 1-1) at Saint Mary’s (5-2-2, 4-0)
The Cobbers are coming off a 1-1 showing in the PrimeLink Great Northern Shootout and face a stern test on the road against the first-place Cardinals. The two teams met in the MIAC showcase in October, with Concordia winning 3-2 in overtime. Jordan Stephen and Sam Nelson are both 2-2 on the year in goal and either one is capable of having a big game in a series where defense will be key. Jeremy Johnson has fueled the offense with his seven assists. Saint Mary’s has lost only once in its last seven games and is 3-0-1 on its home ice. Bob Kinne has tallied five goals and three assists and leads an offense where seven other players have come up with at least four points. Saint Mary’s 4-2, Concordia 4-3

Augsburg (7-0-1, 2-0) at St. Olaf (2-7-1, 0-4)
The Auggies look to remain perfect in league play in this home-and-home series that begins Friday at St. Olaf. Augsburg is the MIAC’s hottest team, surging behind an eight-game unbeaten streak and they have yet to lose at home or on the road. Trevor Stewart (five goals, three assists) fuels an offense that has put up 27 goals. The defense has been equally impressive, with the Auggies allowing only 12 goals. It’s a different story for the Oles, who have won just once in their last five. Two losses have been by just a goal. St. Olaf, which has given up 34 goals, has to find a way to keep the games close. Augsburg 5-2, 4-1

St. Thomas (4-2-3, 3-0-1) at Hamline (6-1-2, 3-1)
The Tommies hit the road to begin this home-and-home series. They come into it on a five-game unbeaten streak and are counting on their defense to pave the way for success. Benjamin Myers has seen the majority of time in goal and is 4-0-2. Michael Dockry and Brett Gravelle lead the offense with three goals and five assists apiece. The Tommies have scored 24 goals in all. You can’t talk about Hamline without bringing up Russ Jordan, who has come through with eight goals and nine assists during his breakout season. Four players in all have tallied 13 or more points for an offense that has produced 34 goals. The Pipers are 3-0 on their home ice this season. Hamline 5-3, St. Thomas 3-2

Aurora (2-5, 2-2) vs. Concordia (6-3-1, 3-2-1)
The Spartans are looking to end a three-game losing streak where offense has been hard to come by. Twice during the streak Aurora was shut out. The Spartans are playing for the first time in more than two weeks and open this series on the road, where they are 0-4 on the season. Brendan Logan has scored twice, leading an offense that has scored just 12 goals. The Falcons are on a three-game win streak and are 4-1-1 on the road, which bodes well for their chances in the series finale Saturday. Connor Hogg (6 goals, 2 assists) and Jim Pearson (5 goals, 2 assists) form a formidable one-two punch for the Falcons. Concordia 5-2, 4-3

St. Scholastica (4-3, 3-1) at Marian (3-6-1, 1-5)
The Saints haven’t played in close to two weeks but are eager to hit the ice again. They feature one of the top goalies in the league, Peter Megariotis, who has tallied 176 saves and has not allowed more than three goals in a game this season. Josh Hansen has come through with a point in six consecutive games and has scored two goals and four assists. The Sabres are unbeaten in their last three games. Three of their losses have come against nationally ranked teams. Gianni Mangone leads the way for Marian with six goals. Five of his goals have come off the power play, ranking him second in the nation in that category. Marian is 3-2 all-time at home against St. Scholastica. St. Scholastica 3-2, 4-3

St. Norbert (8-2, 5-1) vs. Lawrence (3-5, 3-1)
The Green Knights are one of the most dominant teams in the league and nation and cap off a three-game road swing Friday at Lawrence. St. Norbert will close out the series at home Saturday. Roman Uchyn leads the team in goals with six and Tanner Froese is second in goals scored with five. The Green Knights are 3-1 in road games and 5-1 at home and lead the league in goals scored with 29. The Vikings have lost two consecutive games. They are 3-0 on their home ice but winless in five road games. Blake Roubos is the top goal scorer for Lawrence, coming through with three goals. St. Norbert 6-2, 5-1

Saturday, Dec. 3

Wisconsin-Eau Claire (6-1-2) at Wis.-River Falls (2-6-1)
The Blugolds are on a roll, having won four in a row. They have scored 19 goals during that stretch and have allowed only seven. Patrick Moore and Mac Jansen lead the way for the Blugolds, scoring six goals apiece. Moore has come up with nine assists as well. Jansen has six for an offense that has put up 37 goals. Defensively, Wis.-Eau Claire is anchored by Jay Deo, who is 6-1-2. Wis.-Eau Claire has won its last two road games and hopes to add another to that tally this weekend. Zach Quinn has seen the majority of time in goal for the Falcons, fashioning a 2-2-1 record, and he’ll need to be on top of his game for Wis.-River Falls to take care of business at home. The Falcons have allowed 24 goals this season. Wis.-Eau Claire 4-2


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