With a majority of teams already in winter break, there were only four games during the past week to mark the finishing point of the first half of the 2011-2012 hockey season. All four contests featured exciting nonconference action, with three one-goal games and one tie.
Concordia (Minn.) scored all its goals on the power play to beat Northland, 4-3, Sunday. Both teams had their power play units clicking on the day, as Concordia (Minn.) was 4-for-10 on power-play opportunities while Northland went 2-for-7 with the man advantage. Aaron Wheeler scored two of the power-play goals, including the game-winner at 10:54 of the third period for Concordia (Minn.). David Little added two goals and an assist for Northland. Chris Neamonitis made 27 saves in goal for Concordia (Minn.). Northland goaltender Ian Perrier had 35 saves in the game. Concordia is 2-0-2 in its last four games and is off until January 6, when it will host Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Northland begins its 2012 portion of the schedule by hosting St. Scholastica January 10.
On Saturday, the same two teams skated to a 2-2 overtime tie. Northland registered the first goal in the game as Kraig Wright scored a power-play goal. Concordia (Minn.) came back with a couple of even-strength goals by Nick Theilen and Mark Johnson to take the lead. Colin Moberly tied it for Northland in the third. Ian Perrier stood tall for Northland, making 43 saves in the game. Kelly Andrew had 22 saves for Concordia (Minn.).
Brad Tierney and Jordan Keizer scored third period goals, as the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) came back to defeat Hamline Friday. Keizer’s game-winner came with less than four minutes left in the game, and he also assisted on the earlier goal. Cam Stowers scored for Hamline in the second period. Beau Christian had 28 saves for Hamline. Connor Toomey made 25 saves for MSOE. MSOE went 4-1 in December, and returns to action on January 13 against Marian. Hamline, in the midst of a four-game losing streak, has a short winter break and gets back to action December 30. It will play a holiday tournament in Oswego, playing against Neumann in the first game of the tournament.
Gustavus continued its good fortune in Wisconsin this season by defeating No. 4 Wisconsin-River Falls, 2-1, Wednesday, December 14. Gustavus is 4-0-1 when it crosses the border from Minnesota into Wisconsin this season. Second period goals by Adam Smyth and Mark Jackson led the way for Gustavus. Willie Hess made it interesting in the third for Wis.-River Falls with a goal. John McLean made 31 saves for Gustavus, as he outdueled Wis.-River Falls’ Scott Lewan, who stopped 27 shots. Gustavus killed off all six power plays by Wis.-River Falls, while going 1-for-7 on the power play. Gustavus went 5-0 in December, and will return to action January 6, when it will host St. Scholastica. Wis.-River Falls will travel to St. John’s on January 6 to begin the new year.