In the latest standoff of NCHA titans in a rivalry that has quickly built a strong history for itself, No. 2 St. Norbert turned to fresh faces to write the next chapter tonight.
In a seemingly daunting, made for the marquee matchup against No. 1 Adrian, freshmen were responsible for three of the team's four goals. None was bigger than the last. With just inside a minute to play in the extra session, and on his team's 31st shot overall and fourth shot of overtime, freshman Peter Bates netted the second goal of his career to lift the second-ranked Green Knights over the top-ranked Bulldogs by a 4-3 margin in a wild NCHA game in De Pere, Wisconsin.
The Bulldogs did not lead at any point in the contest, a precedent that began when rookie Keegan Milligan scored his second of the campaign to give the Green Knights a 1-0 lead after one period. On the heels of an early second period play, the Bulldogs leveled the score. Former division I player Dino Balsamo lit the lamp 19 seconds after the advantage ended, and his goal at 6:51 tied the game up at a goal apiece. But again, the even terms would not last until intermission. Veteran forward Brad Pung made a big contribution on behalf of the elder Green Knights to re-acquire the lead, as his tally with 37 seconds left in period 2 brought the lead back to St. Norbert.
Not to be outdone, longtime Adrian Bulldog Mathew Thompson would re-tie the score at 4:54 of the third, and the remainder of regulation time consisted of two teams cashing in on their own golden window of opportunity to send the game to an extra session. Luke Davison notched his first career goal for St. Norbert after Bud Madej got the gate on a five minute major, and turnabout would prove to be even handed, as Taylor McCloy cashed in on a Chris Rygus major penalty inside five minutes to play, setting the stage for Bates's heroics. St. Norbert College outshot the Bulldogs on the night, 31-27, as TJ Black earned the victory with 24 saves.
The Bulldogs and Green Knights will have the second leg of their season series on January 26th at Arrington Arena.
Hello, New Friend
Also lining the list of Division III's marquee matchups tonight was the first-ever NEHC meeting between No. 7 Hobart and No. 4 Norwich in the evening's other top ten battle. Newcomer Mike Faulkner's twin goals, with one apiece coming in the first and third periods, kept pace with a two goal period by the Cadets in the middle frame, and the Statesmen (4-1-1) and Cadets (3-1-1) skated to a pivotal early draw, 2-2 at the Cooler in Geneva.
It took just over five minutes for Faulkner to strike the first time, as an unassisted even strength goal at 5:20 was the lid-lifter for the Statesmen to enjoy a 1-0 lead after one period of play in a period where Hobart led shots by a convincing 15-4 margin. The second period, and the scoreboard, went the way of the Cadets in the middle twenty, with Felix Brassard and Coby Downs scoring 15 seconds apart to tilt the totals in the favor of the defending national champions. Faulkner's second goal in the third period was good enough to force overtime, where the teams would skate to a stalemate to force the draw.
Hobart's Alex Connal remained undefeated with 21 saves for the hosts, while Braeden Ostepchuk turned 29 shots away for the Cadets.
WIAC Bolts Past MIAC
There was also quite the array of inter-conference games between the MIAC and WIAC dotting the schedule tonight, and the WIAC flexed its muscles as the league went undefeated against the MIAC in five matchups tonight, with the lone non-winner being UW-River Falls.
- It took Tanner Karty very little time to bring an overtime game between No. 5 UW-Stevens Point(5-1-0) and St. Thomas(2-3-1) to a dramatic conclusion. Just 43 seconds in, Karty transformed a 1-1 tie into pandemonium for the Pointers on the road, as his goal assisted by Logan Fredricks was enough to propel the Pointers to a key 2-1 nonconference road win against the Tommies, who dipped below the .500 mark. Fredricks finished the night with a pair of points, as he also assisted on the first period Pointer goal by Stephan Beauvais. Max Milosek earned the win in net over Ben Myers with 34 saves.
- No. 12 UW-Eau Claire also had a close shave, as the Blugolds weathered a challenge from St. Mary's for a 5-4 victory in Winona. A 2-1 lead through forty minutes would be the difference for the visitors, as the offenses ran wild by way of special teams anarchy in the third period, with six goals scored and five of them coming through some form of special teams play. Jesse Tredinnick and Chad Cesarz scored twice apiece, with a Tredinnick power play goal at 14:32 holding up as the winning score.
- A 4-2 lead that stretched way into the third period, and three assists from Hunter Anderson was sufficient enough for UW-Stout to waltz by Gustavus Adolphus, 5-3.
- A final minute power play goal from St. Olaf's Charlie Widmar gave UW-Superior a scare, but the Jackets held strong for the final 48 seconds to overcome a road challenge from the Oles, 3-2 Ian Ecklund's third goal of the season held up as the game-winner for Superior.
- The lone exception to the WIAC's winning ways came from UW-River Falls (0-5-1), who continued their struggles today with a 3-3 tie against Concordia-Moorhead. Eddie Matsushima kept the pressure on the Cobbers all night with a hat trick, but the Falcons remained winless overall.
- No. 11 Utica seemed out of place seemingly from the start, and Elmira College took advantage at 4:05 of the first on Nick Ford's seventh goal of the season to take a 1-0 lead. The Soaring Eagles never looked back from there, scoring four of the next five and getting three point nights from Matthew Cuce and Spencer McLean in a 5-1 stunner at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. Connor Landrigan scored the lone goal for Utica, who was otherwise thwarted by a 40 save effort from Gennaro Anzevino, who got the win in his first college start. Utica is now 3-1 while Elmira goes back to the .500 mark in both league and overall play at 3-3, 2-2.
- Stevenson passed a massive test this evening, as Austin Swingle's second period goal held up in front of a Jacob Caffrey shutout to lift the Mustangs to a 1-0 win over Manhattanville.
- Brockport's undefeated start was fun while it lasted, but the Golden Eagles(3-1-1) followed up last night's rousing win over Plattsburgh with an underwhelming performance against Potsdam(4-1-1) as they fell 6-4. The Bears had six different players score on the night, and built a 5-1 lead through the first two periods to fend off a prospective Brockport charge.
- No. 14 Plattsburgh State's(2-3) woes continued in conference play Saturday, as Rochester area foes completed the sweep with No. 8 Geneseo(5-1) riding a pair of goals by Anthony Marra to a 4-1 win. Devin McDonald stopped 25 Cardinal shots to pick up his fifth win of the year in net.
- Canton almost claimed another win over a SUNYAC power, but No. 9 Oswego slipped away with a 3-2 victory on the weight of two power play goals. Recap.
- The Bryn Athyn men now have bagged their first win over a Division III program, as they toppled Nazareth by a 3-2 count. Julion Lever netted the dagger for the Lions as they improved to a winning 3-2 record.
- Tonight's UNE-Nichols game was somewhat of a potpourri of college hockey at its wackiest, as the two teams totalled over 110 penalty minutes, scored twelve goals, and Ryan Bloom's five point night and an accompanying four point performance by Brady Fleurent outpaced the hat trick handiwork of Oliver Arnberg in a 7-5 Nor'easter win over the Bison.
- The Neumann University women may have scored the biggest women's sweep of the weekend. After dispatching the Manhattanville Valiants yesterday, the Knights did so again today as Bek Lucas's natural hat trick set the tempo for a 4-2 UCHC victory today in Aston, Pennsylvania.
- Four women's games ended in ties tonight, including winless Salem State tying undefeated Morrisville State at four goals apiece at Salem State tonight, even though the Mustangs outshot the Vikings 49-14. Morrisville State won the special teams battle with a 3-of-8 performance with the skater advantage to outpace a 2-for-7 clip for the Vikings, but goaltender Sarah Plourde was terrific with 45 saves to pace the Vikings to their first non-loss result of the campaign.