By sweeping Bethel this weekend, No. 7 St. Thomas was the first team in the West Region to clinch its conference. St. Thomas wrapped up the MIAC regular season title and home ice advantage in the MIAC playoffs.
No. 6 St. Norbert and No. 8 Wisconsin-River Falls grabbed their own home ice advantage, but no teams in the NCHA have a specific seed set yet, as every team could change position in the standings with the results of next weekend’s games.
In the MCHA, Lawrence made a move in the standings by sweeping Marian. With the two wins, Lawrence moved into a third place tie with Marian. No. 10 Adrian and No. 12 Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) held steady in the standings with their own series sweeps this weekend.
Matt Hughes scored the overtime game-winning goal, his second goal of the game, with just 10 seconds left to lift Lawrence to a 4-3 victory Friday. Lawrence battled back twice against Marian to force overtime. Marian had a 2-0 lead in the first period and regained the lead midway in the third period. Gustav Lindgren added his second goal of the game at 16:53 of the third period to send the game into overtime. Peter Emery stopped 50 shots for Lawrence. Emery faced half as many shots on Saturday, as Lawrence beat Marian 6-2. Brad Scurfield and Huck Saunders each scored two goals to lead the way for Lawrence.
Adrian continued its winning ways against Lake Forest this weekend. Adrian has never lost to Lake Forest since joining the MCHA in 2007. Josh Cousineau had two goals and an assist for Adrian Friday, as it defeated Lake Forest 4-1. Adrian outshot Lake Forest 49-28 in the game. On Saturday, Adrian scored three times in the third period to outlast Lake Forest 5-3. Lake Forest held a 3-2 lead going into the third period, thanks to two power-play goals by Ben Finney and Luke Swardenski. Ryan Gieseler scored the game-winner for Adrian at 3:48 of the third period.
Five different players scored for MSOE in a 5-1 victory against Concordia (Wis.) Friday. Connor Toomey had 27 saves for MSOE as he earned his 56th career victory. MSOE scored four times in the third period to finish the sweep of Concordia (Wis.) 7-4. West Bauman had two goals for MSOE.
Finlandia earned a pair of victories in a home-and-home sweep of Northland to position itself for the final playoff spot in the MCHA. On Friday, Finlandia defeated Northland in a gritty 6-4 game. Finlandia scored three times in the second period to erase Northland’s 3-1 lead. Sean Burke scored twice, including the game-winning goal, as did Alex Heinonen for Finlandia. Mike Lennon had the hat-trick for Northland. Burke was the hero again for Finlandia, as he scored his second game-winner of the weekend in a 3-2 overtime game Saturday.
St. Thomas scored three times in the second period to clinch the MIAC regular season title with a 5-2 win over Bethel on Friday. Five different players scored for St. Thomas, as Tyrone Simcoe made 22 saves in goal. It is the first title for St. Thomas since 2006. On Saturday, St. Thomas used another balanced scoring attack in a 4-1 victory. Drew Fielding went to 8-0 on the season for St. Thomas, as he stopped 24 of 25 shots in net.
St. John’s continued its second-half surge with a pair of 3-2 victories against St. Mary’s. By winning six of its last seven MIAC games, St. John’s is tied for second place along with St. Olaf. The two teams meet next weekend. Wally Cossette a power-play goal at 4:12 of the third proved for the game-winner on Friday for St. John’s. On the strength of two power-play goals in the second period Saturday, St. John’s rattled off its second straight 3-2 victory over St. Mary’s.
St. Olaf swept Augsburg to remain in the hunt for second place of the MIAC. Peter Rohn had two goals and an assist for St. Olaf in its 5-3 victory Friday night. St. Olaf completed the sweep with a 4-3 win on Saturday.
Gustavus Adolphus and Hamline split over the weekend, which kept the two teams deadlocked for third place in the MIAC. Hamline started off the series with a 4-0 shutout on Thursday. Beau Christian made 33 saves in goal for his second shutout of the season, as Hamline went two-for-four on the power play. Nick Widing led Hamline with two goals. Gustavus came back on Friday to win 4-3. The victory gave coach Brett Petersen 100 wins in the MIAC for Gustavus. In 12 years, Petersen is 100-73-16 in MIAC play. Andy Pearson gave the coach his milestone win with just 17 seconds left in the game.
St. Norbert will need only two points next weekend to earn a share of the NCHA title, after picking up three-of-four points on the weekend. St. Norbert and Wisconsin-Superior skated to a rare 0-0 overtime tie Friday. It is only St. Norbert’s second 0-0 draw in the history of the program, the first since 1995.
St. Norbert defeated St. Scholastica, 3-1, on Saturday to maintain a four-point lead in the standings. David Jacobson made 28 saves for St. Norbert. St. Scholastica remains in the race for the NCHA title, depending on the outcome of next weekend’s games.
Wis.-River Falls started off the weekend Thursday in the NCHA with a 3-2 victory over Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Jeff Burke scored the game-winning goal at 11:49 of the second period. Ross Anderson had both goals for Wis.-Eau Claire.
Wis.-River Falls earned a weekend sweep with a wild 7-6 overtime victory of Wisconsin-Stout to clinch an opening round home playoff series. Both teams erupted for a total of seven second-period goals. Branden Gay tied the score for Wis.-Stout at 6-6 with the only goal of the third period. Alec Hagaman scored the game-winner for Wis.-River Falls at 1:47 of overtime.
Wisconsin-Stevens Point remained in contention for a share of the league title by gaining three points over the weekend. Wis.-Stevens Point started off weekend with a 2-1 victory Friday at St. Scholastica. On Saturday, Wis.-Superior and Wis.-Stevens Point battled to a 2-2 overtime draw. St. Scholastica and Wis.-Stevens Point are currently tied for third in the standings, and the possibility remains that the goal differential in games could play a factor.
Wis-Eau Claire dropped its second game of the weekend, as Wis.-Stout won 2-0 Friday. Tom Lescovich turned back all 49 shots for Wis.-Stout.