Compiled by D3hockey.com staff --
The only way to follow up a firework laden opening weekend was with... more fireworks on the second. The top two teams in last week's men's top 15 both falter, the Blugold and Gustie women still can't settle things in 60 minutes, UNE and Salve split, the remarkable story at Finlandia continues to add layers, and Hobart tops Norwich in an NEHC championship rematch. Onward to the wrapup!
|Hunter Vorva backstopped the Sabres to their first win over Adrian since 2010.
Photo: Steve Frommell, d3photography.com
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Saturday a Tough Day for the Poll
Saturday was a forgettable day for the top two teams in the men's top 15, and an unforgettable day for Marian and MSOE. Marian went on the road to No. 2 Adrian and topped the Bulldogs 4-1 behind a 47 save night by Hunter Vorva, and the Raiders took No. 1 St. Norbert to a second overtime in two nights and did what Concordia-Wisconsin couldn't do on Friday: Land the game-winner in the extra session to lift themselves to a 3-2 win at Kern Center in Milwaukee.
The Sabres and Bulldogs had a scoreless opening period in an afternoon start at Arrington, and the stalemate continued into the second where Marian struck rapidly. Anthony Orubor and Clay Cross lit the lamp exactly three minutes apart to give the Sabres a permanent lead. Adrian countered with a goal before the end of the second, and kept the heat on with a mammoth 21 shot push in the third period, but Vorva was up to every task and the Sabres canned a pair of empty net goals to finish the job. Cross finished the night with two scores for Marian.
Fresh off a loss to Finlandia, the Raiders did what every team aspires to do early in the season: Beat the defending national champions. They got their wish at 2:53 of overtime when Adam Ostrowski scored unassisted to guide MSOE to a 3-2 win over St. Norbert. In the early stages, it looked as if it was headed St. Norbert's way to a fifteenth all-time win over the Raiders. Veteran forward Roman Uchyn opened the scoring with his second of the season at 7:38 of the first period, and on a string of power plays, the Green Knights delivered again in the second period. Dominick Sacco was the man worthy of the occasion as he ripped the twine to open up a 2-0 advantage. However, that's where the fun would end for the visitors. Rock Boynton was exactly what his name says - a rock - with thirteen saves between the third period and overtime, and the Raiders rode their power play to bring a dramatic finish to fruition at the other end. The rally was on when Garrett Gintoli scored with the extra man at 7:35, and MSOE caught a second break to pull even on an unassisted score by Kevin Shand with 3:02 to go. That set the stage for Ostrowski's heroics in the MSOE win. The victory was the first of the year for the Raiders (1-3), while the Green Knights are 2-1 to begin their title defense.
Split Decision in the Commonwealth Coast
A battle of two top teams in the Commonwealth Coast could be a preview for a very entertaining league finish as No. 6 Salve Regina and No. 9 UNE split this weekend in a home-and-home. Both teams grabbed hold of the road leg in the series as UNE blanked the Seahawks 3-0 in Newport, and the national runner-up made their presence felt in Biddeford with a 3-1 win over the Nor'easters on Saturday. Brady Fleurent, Ryan Bloom, and Tyler Seltenreich scored in the UNE win as they pounded in a goal in each period on Friday. The Nor'easters seemed primed for more of the same on Saturday when they grabbed the lead on a shorthanded score in the first, but Blake Wojtala shut the door with 34 saves and thwarted seven power play tries for UNE while Evan Schmidbauer, Nick Cyr, and Paul Boutoussov all scored to give the Seahawks the 3-1 road win.
Gusties and Blugolds Still Can't Shake Each Other
Those who remember last year's four hour NCAA tournament thriller will be pleased to learn that very little has changed between No. 8 Gustavus Adolphus and No. 9 UW-Eau Claire.... Even though Gustavus lost its top three point getters and brought in eleven newcomers, the Blugolds and Gusties still couldn't shake each other on Saturday as they settled for a 2-2 tie. One of the Gustie newcomers, Kristina Press, got the matchup started with the milestone first goal of her career in an opening twenty minutes that was played entirely at full strength. Kelly Knetter countered just over twelve minutes into the second period with her second of the season to even the game at one. From there, a game that had just one penalty in its first thirty minutes had six minors called the rest of the way, and both teams saw to it to produce once each on the power play. Laine Fischer was the first to strike for the Gusties with an unassisted lead grabber in the final minute of the second, but true to form, the Blugolds produced yet another third period lifeline to earn the tie. Courtney Wittig was the player to get the job done as her power play goal finalized the score in a 2-2 tie. Veteran goaltender Amanda DiNella was awesome for Gustavus with 51 saves to earn the tie, and Erin Connolly turned away 19 Gustie shots for Eau Claire.
The Blugolds are now 2-1-1, while the Gusties are unbeaten at 1-0-1. They'll meet again at the scene of their epic NCAA opening round clash on January 5th in St. Peter.
An Upper Peninsula Renaissance
Look out for Finlandia's Men. This is not a drill. The Lions won two games in the past two seasons, but that hasn't stopped them from making an incredibly strong early bid to turn things around out of the gate in the early portion of this season. Head Coach Joe Burcar has the Lions at a winning record (2-0-1) in his second tenure in Hancock, and that's the first time the Lions have been over .500 at any point since the 2008-09 season, when Burcar was in his first run with the Lions.
Finlandia followed up a strong opening win against River Falls by unseating the team that went on to beat St. Norbert - MSOE - in a seesaw battle on Friday night. The Lions scored the first two goals of the game with Vinny Mastrandrea and Alex Rezansoff both getting on the board, and then the Raiders tilted the score in their own direction with an even strength goal from Jeff Makowski, and cleaned out the Finlandia penalty box with two power play goals as Nick Redmon converted the 5-on-3, and Gintoli nailed a 5-on-4 power play goal to grab the lead for the Raiders. However, the home team wasn't out of the woods. Andrew Froese made the Raiders pay for a tripping minor before the end of the second to re-tie the score at 3, and the Lions finished things in the third on Kendall Bolen-Porter's second goal of the season in a 4-3 win. Marcus Gloss was brilliant again for Finlandia in goal with 38 saves.
The Lions went on to tie Concordia-Wisconsin on Saturday 1-1. Jim Pearson and Blake Peavey scored for their respective sides, while Gloss stopped 51 of 52.
Norwich Men Top Hobart in Conference Title Rematch
One of the burning questions of the offseason was how the Norwich Cadets would fare under Cam Ellsworth after the unbelievably successful tenure of Mike McShane. The answer, at least so far: Just fine. The Cadets are 2-0-1 to start the season, and got their second win at the expense of the last team to defeat them as No. 12 Norwich topped No. 5 Hobart by a 3-1 score at Kreitzberg Arena. After a scoreless first, the Cadets threw down the gauntlet with a pair of goals from Dave Robertson and Coby Downs in the second period, and added a third before Hobart's Matt Pizzo broke the shutout on a last-gasp effort on the power play at 19:29 of the third as the Cadets won a potential NEHC title preview game. Tom Aubrun stopped 25 in goal for the Cadets.
- The UW-Eau Claire men are now 5-0 after crushing Hamline 5-2 on Saturday. Kyle Froese scored twice for the Blugolds
- No. 8 Utica may have just thrown down an open challenge in the UCHC to anyone in their path, as they doused preseason No. 3 conference pick Manhattanville 5-1 on Tuesday, and then defeated Neumann 8-1 on Saturday. The Pioneers are 2-0 in league play at the outset of their title defense and are 2-2 overall after two close losses to No. 2 Adrian on opening weekend. Josh Haskin finished with seven points on a goal and six assists in the pair of victories.
- Utica's biggest UCHC threat could come from reigning runner-up Elmira, who pulled away from Wilkes and King's this weekend to win by scores of 7-3 and 5-2 respectively. The Soaring Eagles created much of their leverage with a 6-of-12 power play showing in the two games against upset hungry upstarts from Northeastern Pennsylvania. Connor Powell set the pace with an awesome six points for the weekend.
- The Nichols and Morrisville women had an intruguing series this weekend, as the Bison unseated the defending CHC champion Mustangs 3-1 on Friday to open up a 3-0 start, but the Mustangs had the last laugh to earn a split as they blanked Nichols on Saturday, 3-0. Mel McAleer scored twice in the Nichols win, while Mackenzie Lombardi tacked on two assists in the win for Morrisville.
- The No. 1 Elmira Women survived a close shave on Saturday as they beat Neumann 2-1. The Soaring Eagles opened up a two goal advantage before Neumann's Jackie Schneider hammered in an extra attacker goal in the final minute. Helen Cooney turned away 49 shots to keep the Knights in it.