It appears the usual suspects are beginning to take control of their respective conferences after another weekend of intense hockey action. A coaching milestone was also achieved during the weekend.
St. Norbert coach Tim Coghlin joined an elite group as he won his 400th career game. In a 4-1 victory against Wisconsin-Stout Friday, he became the 37th coach in all divisions of NCAA to reach the 400-win mark, and the 12th to do it at the Division III level.
Three teams are surging in the NCHA, with St. Norbert leading the way and taking control at the top of the standings. St. Norbert used a sweep of Wisconsin-Stout to gain possession of first place, while St. Scholastica knocked Wisconsin-River Falls from atop the perch, sweeping the Falcons. Wisconsin-Eau Claire has been hot in January, undefeated in its last five games.
St. Thomas earned a comfortable lead in the MIAC, with three teams tied for second, battling for MIAC playoff spots. The top five teams make it to the MIAC conference playoffs.
Adrian asserted itself again as the top team in the MCHA, holding off a surging Marian team. and Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) rebounded after being swept by Marian last weekend to regain second place in the league.
Adrian handed Marian its first MCHA loss Sunday with a 4-1 victory. Adrian scored three times in the first period to set the tone of the game. The two teams played a rare Monday afternoon game, in which Adrian completed the sweep with a 4-2 win. The two wins gave Adrian a four-point lead at the top of the MCHA.
MSOE swept Lawrence over the weekend to remain within striking distance of Adrian. Brad Tierney scored the game-winner in the second for MSOE on a power play in a 3-2 win. MSOE scored twice in the third period to capture a 4-2 victory on Saturday. MSOE travels to Adrian next weekend for a showdown of the conference titans.
Finlandia and Lake Forest had a tight series over the weekend, with both games being decided by a goal. Griffin Hodges scored for Finlandia early in the third period for a 4-3 victory Friday. A furious Lake Forest rally ran short Saturday in a 5-4 loss. Lake Forest scored two late goals on a power play in the third period, but could not get the equalizer.
Northland took three-of-four points against Concordia (Wis.) over the weekend. Mike Lennon scored two goals to lead Northland in a 6-2 victory on Friday. Concordia (Wis.) came back to tie the game on Saturday on a goal from Dustin Jonasson.
St. Thomas swept St. Mary’s with a pair of 4-2 wins to take a seven-point lead in the MIAC standings. Two third period goals from Robby Phillipp and Riley Horgan paced St. Thomas to a 4-2 victory at St. Mary’s on Friday. St. Mary’s had a 2-0 lead going into the second period before St. Thomas answered with four goals. Four different players scored for St. Thomas on Saturday, and Drew Fielding was solid in goal for a second consecutive night for St. Thomas’ other 4-2 win during the weekend. Fielding made 51 saves in the two games against St. Mary’s. St. Thomas has a seven-game winning streak.
St. Olaf earned a tie for second place in the conference, taking three-of-four points in a home-and-home series against Bethel. Friday’s game ended in a 1-1 overtime draw. On Saturday, Ross Trousdale and Kevin Harris scored two goals apiece for St. Olaf, as it pulled into the second place in the MIAC, along with Bethel and Concordia (Minn.). The St. Olaf defense has clamped down on opponents in the past couple of months. It has not allowed another team to score more than two goals in a game, since Hamline beat St. Olaf 4-3 in November.
After being swept by St. John’s this weekend, Concordia (Minn.) is the other second place team in the MIAC. Josh Gaughan scored both goals for St. John’s in a 2-1 win in Saturday’s series opener. Joe Harren scored twice for St. John’s in Sunday’s rematch, as St. John’s defeated Concordia (Minn.) 4-1. St. John’s sits just one point back of fifth place Hamline. Those two teams collide next weekend with a home-and-home series. Concordia (Minn.) has gone 1-5 in January.
Hamline put itself back into playoff contention by taking three-of-four points against Augsburg this weekend. Beau Christian made a season-high 41 saves for Hamline, as the MIAC rivals skated to a 2-2 overtime tie Friday. Augsburg committed two penalties in overtime, but it played very tight short-handed, not allowing Hamline to even get a shot on goal. Hamline’s power play executed better on Saturday, as it scored two power-play goals en route to a 4-1 victory.
St. Norbert moved into first place in the NCHA with sweep of Wis.-Stout during the weekend. Johan Ryd scored twice in the second period for St. Norbert, as it overcame an early 1-0 deficit to defeat Wis.-Stout 4-1. Saturday’s game was played in St. Paul at the home of the NHL’s Minnesota Wild as part of Hockey Day Minnesota. Wis.-Stout, once again, took a 1-0 lead. After tying the game on a power-play goal from Alain Joanette at 8:21 of the third, Ryd put the game away at 12:06 of the third. St. Norbert has won four games in a row and begins single-game competition in the NCHA next weekend against Wis.-River Falls and Wis.-Eau Claire at home.
St. Scholastica leaped into second place, just two points behind St. Norbert, behind an impressive weekend sweep of Wis.-River Falls. Carter Davis scored the game-winning goal at 14:51 of the second period, as St. Scholastica outlasted Wis.-River Falls, 3-2, Friday. Dave Williams scored two goals as St. Scholastica exploded for seven goals in a 7-1 drubbing of Wis.-River Falls. St. Scholastica is 4-0-1 in its last five games.
Wis.-Eau Claire earned three out of four points at Wis.-Superior over the weekend. Wis.-Eau Claire defeated Wis.-Superior, 3-1, Friday. Kurt Weston led Wis.-Eau Claire with two goals. The two teams went to a 2-2 overtime draw on Saturday. Wis.-Eau Claire is 3-0-2 in its last five games. Saturday’s tie stopped a four-game losing streak for Wis.-Superior.