The regular season is in the books.
Now the fun starts.
Last weekend was full of action:
ECAC EAST – The East got a week’s jump on the playoffs, and with three nationally-ranked teams among its number, no upsets were expected. And none were pulled off, for that matter. Top seed Norwich ousted No. 8 Southern Maine, 4-0, Massachusetts-Boston blasted Skidmore, 11-1, Babson handled New England College, 3-1, and Castleton squeaked past UNE in overtime, 3-2. Corbin Marcotte scored the game-winner for the Spartans at the three-minute mark of the extra session. Round Two tilts featuring the four survivors are slated to go on Saturday.
ECAC NORTHEAST – Nichols polished off its strong regular season with a pair of wins over WNEC, 5-2 and 8-3. Junior forward Frank Butler had a massive weekend, notching three-goal hat tricks in both games, giving him 19 for the season … Salve Regina, which will be seeded second in the upcoming playoffs, was upended 4-1 Johnson & Wales, which will be the third seed.
ECAC WEST – Regular-season play in the West wrapped up on Friday with first-place Hobart squeezing past Elmira, 2-1. Neumann topped Manhattanville, 5-2, thanks to a four-goal second period eruption, while Nazareth and Utica battled to a 1-1 overtime tie. The playoffs will open on Wednesday.
MASCAC – Conference champ Plymouth State fended off lowly Framingham State, 2-1, thanks to second-period goals by Zach Sarig and Josh Woody. The Panthers fired 41 shots at Framingham goalie Alessio Muggli. Salem State, which sits in second place just two points ahead of Fitchburg State, fought to a 1-1 overtime tie with the Falcons.
MIAC – St. Thomas did it again. The Tommies are the champions of the MIAC, winning the title outright with a sweep of rival St. John’s. It marks the fourth consecutive year the Tommies have earned at least a share of the championship. The Tommies beat the Johnnies 3-1 Friday to wrap up the regular season. Nick Nielsen, Michael Krieg and Willie Faust all scored goals for St. Thomas, which improved to 16-5-4 overall and 10-3-3 in the MIAC. The Tommies end the regular season with an 11-1-2 record at home. St. Thomas has won its last two games and is unbeaten in five of its last six games. Drew Fielding tallied 29 saves and won his 12th game of the season…St. Mary’s ended the regular season in second place after topping Hamline 5-4 Saturday. The Cardinals got a huge lift from Bob Kinne, who recorded his first collegiate hat trick. Kinne scored all three of his goals in the first two periods of the game. It was the fifth time this season that a St. Mary’s player has come through with a hat trick. The Cardinals also got goals from Taylor Portner and Mike Mezzano as they improved to 14-9-2 overall and 9-5-2 in the conference. The 14 wins is the most for a St. Mary’s team since the 1997-98 campaign. Phil Heinle made 49 saves, two shy of his career high. The Cardinals edged Hamline 4-3 in overtime Friday behind a game-winning goal from Chad Cesarz, helping St. Mary’s secure its first playoff trip since the 2003-04 season. Cesarz has scored 13 goals for St. Mary’s, which enters the playoffs on a two-game win streak … The MIAC postseason begins Thursday with Hamline traveling to Augsburg for a quarterfinal showdown. St. Thomas hosts the winner of that game Saturday. St. Mary’s welcomes Concordia (Minn.) to town in the other semifinal. The championship is slated for March 7 at the site of the highest remaining seed. The Tommies are the reigning league tourney champions and one of only two teams that were in the tourney field a year ago. Concordia was also in the MIAC tournament last season.
NCHA – St. Norbert stayed alive in its quest to win another NCHA championship after rolling through a two-game series against Lawrence over the weekend. The Green Knights blanked the Vikings twice, winning 5-0 and 6-0 to advance to the semifinal round of the Harris Cup playoffs. Michael Hill fueled the Green Knights in their series-clinching win, recording a hat trick. He also dished out an assist. His goal total for the season is at 20. Mason Baptista tallied three assists while Tyler Zepeda came through with a goal and assist for the defending national champions. The Green Knights, who are 19-5-2, scored three times off the power play as they won their fifth consecutive game. It was their third consecutive shutout win. On Friday, Cullen Bradshaw, Blake Thompson, Tanner Froese, Kyle Lee and Chris Rial all scored…The Milwaukee School of Engineering survived a thrilling series against Marian over the weekend and advanced into the semifinal round of the tourney against St. Norbert. The Raiders won the opener 6-3 but fell 4-2 in the second game, setting up a mini-game between the two teams. MSOE earned the win in OT of the mini-game thanks to a goal by James Ring. Ring also scored a goal in the regulation game. Brian Berger scored twice for the Sabres Saturday. The Raiders held a 9-1 advantage in shots in OT of the mini-game. MSOE started off the series with a win Friday. Evan Wilson scored twice to pace the offensive attack of the Raiders, who ended Marian’s six-game win streak. Adrian swept Concordia in its opening playoff series while St. Scholastica went the distance against Lake Forest, winning 1-0 in a decisive mini-game Sunday. The Saints won the opener of the series 2-1 but fell 3-2 in the second game Sunday. That set up the mini-game and the Saints prevailed, winning 1-0 and advancing to play Adrian this weekend in the semifinal round of the tourney. Derek Hills scored the winning goal. On Friday, Keegan Bruce scored the game-winner in the second period as the Saints opened up a 1-0 lead in the series.
NESCAC – Having already wrapped up the NESCAC crown, Trinity tuned up for the playoffs with a pair of decisive wins over Wesleyan, 4-1 and 6-0. Connecticut College notched a pair of 4-1 wins – at Bowdoin and Colby – and wound up slipping into third place tie with Williams which lost both its weekend encounters. Because they hold the tiebreaker over Williams, the Camels will be the third seed in the playoffs, which get started on Saturday.
SUNYAC – It was hardly the sort of regular season wrapup that Oswego had hoped for. Ranked first in the nation heading into Friday’s tilt with then No. 9 Plattsburgh, the Lakers were held to a 3-3 overtime tie and had to rally for that much via Nick Ravait’s third-period power-play goal. The next night, Oswego was upset by Potsdam, 4-2, as the Bears potted four unanswered goals, and in the process, earned them a home playoff game (Wednesday against Buffalo State) for the first time in six seasons … For its part, Plattsburgh captured the league’s regular-season crown, its first since 2009, with Saturday’s 5-2 win at Cortland.
WIAC – Wisconsin-Stevens Point didn’t win the regular season championship a year ago, but did go on to play for the national championship. The Pointers are the champions of the WIAC in the regular season this year, however, after beating Wisconsin-River Falls and Wisconsin-Superior this past weekend for its 10th title in program history. Stevens Point clinched the title outright Saturday with a 7-0 win over Superior, giving it back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since the 1991-92 and 1992-93 seasons. Stevens Point is 20-5 overall and 10-2 in the WIAC. It hasn’t had a 20-win regular season since winning the title in 1993 and the Pointers won their first regular season title since 2000. Kyle Sharkey scored a goal and dished out two assists while Kevin Gibson also came through with a goal and two assists. Scott Henegar racked up four assists against Superior. Brandon Jaeger won his 20th game in goal as he racked up his fifth shutout of the season. He has won 20 games in each of the last two years and is second all-time in saves with 1,892. The Pointers topped River Falls 5-3 Friday. Gibson and Garrett Ladd both tallied a goal and an assist … Wisconsin-Eau Claire will be the second seed in the WIAC tournament after finishing off a perfect weekend. The Blugolds wrapped up the regular season with a 3-2 win over River Falls Saturday. They trailed 2-0 but scored the next three goals en route to the win. They are 17-6-2 overall and 9-3 in the WIAC. Ross Andersen scored the game winner. It was his fifth shorthanded goal of the year, tying a school record that was set during the 1991-92 season. It was also Andersen’s fourth game-winning goal of the season. Patrick Moore and Jack Callahan also scored goals for the Blugolds, who are 73-31-8 over the last four seasons. Eau Claire has won its last two games. It started off the week with a 5-1 win over Stout Thursday. The Blugolds have won eight of the last 11 games against the Blue Devils and assured themselves of a winning season for the fifth consecutive year with the victory. The Blugolds begin postseason play next weekend when they host River Falls in a playoff series.