West wrap: Feb. 25

The postseason is full of surprises. Just look at the MIAC playoffs.

Augsburg and Gustavus, the third and four seeds in the tournament, will play for the MIAC championship next Saturday with a berth in the NCAA tournament on the line.

The Auggies aren’t necessarily a huge surprise. At one point, they were 8-0 and one of the best teams in the nation.

Against Saint John’s, they earned a 4-3 victory to advance to the title game. Luke Dietsch scored twice, including the game-tying goal in the third period. The Johnnies were ahead 3-1 before Augsburg battled back. Chandler Madry was the hero with 17 seconds to go, scoring the game-winner to lift the Auggies to the win.

Gustavus is moving on after stunning top-seed St. Thomas, 4-3, in overtime. The Gusties took advantage of a clutch goal by Colton Schmidt, who punched in the game-winning goal less than three minutes into the overtime period.

Schmidt scored the first goal of the game as well, still riding the high of scoring the game-winner against Concordia Thursday night in a 2-1 win in the tournament opener. Schmidt also dished out an assist in the win over the Tommies.

Will LeNeave dished out two assists, while Tanner Barnes and Brett Gravelle both scored for St. Thomas, which came in having nine of its last 11 games.

Augsburg and Gustavus have already played three times this season, with the Auggies winning twice. The Auggies will be aiming for their third consecutive conference tourney crown.

Shutout central in the NCHA
Top-ranked Adrian and second-ranked St. Norbert will clash for the conference championship next week after both advanced with shutout wins in the semifinal round of the tournament this past Saturday.

The Bulldogs extended their win streak to 16 games with a 9-0 win over Lake Forest. Taylor McCloy was unreal in the game, coming through with three goals and three assists. He had tallied his hat trick by the end of the second period. Kevin Entmaa and Dillon Kelley combined or 22 saves in the win. Entmaa got credit for the win. He now has 16 wins on the season, the most in his career.

The Green Knights, meanwhile, topped Marian, 3-0. They led just 35 seconds into the game off a goal by Steven Phillips. Riley Christensen pushed the lead to 2-0 with nine seconds left in the first period. Tanner Froese scored the final goal. T.J. Black made 12 saves in the win as he helped catapult St. Norbert to the Harris Cup final. The Green Knights and Bulldogs will meet for the championship for the fourth consecutive year.

Pointers and Blugolds moving on to title game
Third-ranked Wisconsin-Stevens Point is headed to the WIAC title game after edging Wisconsin-River Falls, 3-2, Saturday in the semifinal round. The Pointers opened the semifinal series with a 5-1 win.

Tanner Karty paved the way with two goals, and Connor Ryckman, only a freshman, made 21 saves to help the Pointers win their 20th game of the season. Wis.-Stevens Point has now put together five consecutive seasons of 20 or more wins. Zach Zech scored the other goal for the Pointers, who are unbeaten in their last nine games.

In Friday’s game, Karty, Ben Miller and Kelly O’Brien all tallied a goal and an assist.

For Wisconsin-Eau Claire, there was no shortage of drama. The Blugolds had to win a mini-game against Wisconsin-Stout to survive and advance to the championship game. Wis.-Eau Claire won, 1-0, over the Blue Devils to finish off the series.

Wis.-Stout had defeated Wis.-Eau Claire 3-2 in the second game of the semifinal series. Zach Dyment saved all eight of the shots he faced in the mini-game.

The Blugolds won the opener Friday, 4-1. Zach Kennedy scored his first collegiate goal in the game. Dyment made his 13th consecutive start and made 25 saves. Jacob Wolter, Colton Wolter, and Johnny Mueller scored goals as well for the Blugolds.

Wis.-Stevens Point and Wis.-Eau Claire will play for the championship Saturday.