D-III West weekend picks Nov. 30: Marian vs. St. Norbert among the highlights

Hunter Vorva anchors Marian in net. (Larry Radloff/Larry Radloff, d3photography.com)
Hunter Vorva will need to be strong for Marian to hold off St. Norbert this weekend. (Larry Radloff/Larry Radloff, d3photography.com)

There’s nothing like a showdown between two ranked teams to highlight another weekend of hockey. Marian hits the road to battle St. Norbert Saturday night in a pivotal NCHA battle. The Sabres are 14th in the country, the Green Knights third. Both teams have a lot riding on this game, and this could be a game decided by great defense. After all, two of the best goalies in NCAA Division III hockey are going head-to-head in this one. Marian has Hunter Vorva, who owns a goals-against average of 1.66. T.J. Black of St. Norbert has a 1.34 GAA.

Marian has yet to lose a conference game and is led offensively by Nick Monfils, who has scored four goals to go along with five assists. St. Norbert is looking to get above .500 in conference play. The Green Knights have gotten a big lift from Roman Uchyn, who has four goals and three assists. St. Norbert 3-2

If you are looking for another great weekend matchup, check out the two-game set on tap between 11th-ranked Augsburg and St. Thomas. The series begins Friday at St. Thomas, the reigning regular-season champ. The conference tournament champion Auggies feature a high-powered offense that is led by Alex Rodriguez, who has come through with nine goals and four assists. Chandler Madry has tallied three goals and has also dished out seven assists. Augsburg also has a Nate Schmit in goal. He is allowing less than a goal per game and has a save percentage of nearly 98 percent. The Tommies counter with Andrew Rohkohl, who has allowed just under three goals per outing and has saved nearly 90 percent of the shots he’s faced. Offensively, Luke Radetic has been a key player, scoring five goals so far this season. St. Thomas 2-1, Augsburg 5-2

Friday, Nov. 30

Wisconsin-Stout at Wisconsin-Superior
The Blue Devils have won four of their last five. Mathias Ahman paces Wis.-Stout with three goals and five assists. Logan Nelson has come through with four goals and three assists. This is a team with quite a bit of balance, and it has a solid goalie in Tommi Ahlgren, who is 5-2. The Yellowjackets have struggled most of the year, winning just three times, but they are at home, and that could be a difference-maker. Scoring goals hasn’t been an issue; they’ve scored 33 times. Troy York and Andrew Durham lead the way with eight goals apiece. Wis.-Stout 5-3

Adrian at St. Scholastica
Adrian is one of the more balanced teams in the nation, led by Bryan Yim, who has punched in 10 goals, while Bryce Van Horn and Trevor Boyd have four goals apiece. St. Scholastica has won its last two games and would love nothing more than to upset the fourth-ranked team in the country. The Saints will need to pick things up on offense, though, to have a shot, as they’ve scored just 18 goals. Nick Trenciansky has started five games and has given up seven goals. Adrian 5-2

Trine at Northland
Both teams are looking for momentum, and this is really a game that could go either way. Trine has dropped its last two and has yet to win a road game. The Thunder are led by Garrett Hallford, who has scored five goals and dished out four assists. Northland is 3-2 at home and is looking to bounce back after seeing its three-game win streak end. Lucas DeBenedet leads the way for Northland with five goals and five assists. Northland 4-3

Friday-Saturday, Nov. 30-Dec. 1

St. Olaf at Concordia
The Oles hit the road for a huge two-game series against the Cobbers. The two teams are tied for fourth in the standings. St. Olaf is looking to get back on track after dropping two in a row. It doesn’t have that one go-to scorer; Kyle Rimbach leads the team with three goals. The Cobbers, meanwhile, have two of the better offensive threats in the conference in Mario Bianchi and Aaron Herdt. Bianchi leads the MIAC with 10 goals, and Herdt has scored six. Concordia is unbeaten in its last three, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if it won both. St. Olaf, though, is certainly capable of stealing a game here. Concordia 5-2, 4-3

Saturday, Dec. 1

Wisconsin-Eau Claire at Wisconsin-River Falls
The Blugolds feature the best offense in the WIAC, scoring 40 goals, and they have allowed the least number of goals as well, giving up just 15. The Falcons are second in the league in goals allowed with 17, and a defensive battle could be in store for these two teams. Zach Dyment has a 1.36 GAA and is 10-1 on the season; he has made 181 saves. Zach Quinn is the starter for the Falcons and is 4-2-2 with a 2.09 GAA; he has come through with 195 saves on the season. Wis.-Eau Claire 5-3

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