Compiled by D3hockey.com Staff
This weekend in Division III hockey certainly brought with it an interesting mix of outcomes. On Friday, key upsets out West shook the NCHA to its core as Marian and Lake Forest topped St. Norbert and Adrian on their way to topping their respective NCHA divisions by the end of the weekend. In women's action, St. Thomas staked its latest claim as the prospective top dog of the MIAC as it remained unbeaten with a win and tie against Gustavus, Elmira and Adrian survived tight games, and the Forester women take one of two from the Blugolds. We're here to give you all the most important information about this weekend's games in one place.
Sabres, Foresters Shock The System Friday
If you were browsing the D3hockey.com scoreboards this weekend, it's safe to say that one score probably stood out well above the other games dotting the landscape. In a game that produced one of the most shocking scores the nation has seen this season, No. 6 Adrian saw a 2-0 deficit balloon into a 6-0 blowout in the third period as Lake Forest toppled the Bulldogs in a lopsided affair in Chicago.
The Foresters got an early first period goal from Will Lebel, unassisted, just past the two minute mark and the Foresters put the heat on for the rest of the period as they capped Adrian to just two shots on goal in the opening 20 minutes. The second period brought with it a more balanced shot count, but the only team to capitalize in the frame was the Foresters as Troy Nelson scored shorthanded at 15:31 to put the Bulldogs in a tough spot going into the third period. It's a spot that only got tougher as the third period progressed, as Ryan Kruss and Josh Giacomin scored before the midpoint of the period, and Mark DerManulian scored twice more late to put it well out of reach as the Foresters blanked the Bulldogs at home. George Argiropoulous posted a nineteen save shutout for Lake Forest, while Tymen Edelkoort struggled for Adrian with just 14 stops on nineteen shots.
The Bulldogs are now 11-5-1, and 6-3-1 in the NCHA. The Forresters are now 8-5-4, but are 6-2-2 in the NCHA this season. Adrian defeated Aurora on Saturday, and the Forresters went on to defeat Trine.
No. 7 St. Norbert had trouble of its own on Friday against fellow 2018 NCAA qualifier Marian, and that trouble came at a time when the Green Knights have not entirely looked like their traditional selves with just two wins in their last six games. Marian recently fell out of the D3hockey.com poll, but just might have played their way back in after they rode a three goal first period to a 3-1 victory over the Green Knights in Fon Du Lac.
The Sabres bolted out of the gate with three goals in the later half of the first period as Nick Monfils, Troy Ring, and former Green Knight Lane Valimont all scored to grab a significant advantage that they never squandered. St. Norbert got numerous opportunities to fight their way back into the game as the Sabres took six minor penalties, but Marian's penalty kill was perfect on the night to aid the upset effort. The Green Knights finally broke through with a goal at 17:15 of the third, but it was far too late as the Sabres walked away with the big win. Hunter Vorva stopped 32 of 33 shots in the win for the Green Knights. Marian maintained the top spot in the division through Saturday despite a slipup in a 2-2 tie against Finlandia.
St. Thomas Women Continue To Roll
It's been a season of virtually unhindered dominance for the No. 3 St. Thomas women. The only team, men's or women's, to enter the weekend unbeaten and untied in the nation has run roughshot over the MIAC at 7-0-1, and is outscoring opponents in the league 24-4 through this weekend. Three of the four goals against came this weekend against their toughest test yet, but the Tommies performed admirably with a win and a tie to remain unbeaten in a weekend set against No. 9 Gustavus Adolphus.
On Friday at home, the Tommies never trailed as they cruised to a 3-1 win in Mendota Heights. Shae McLean led the Tommies with a goal and an assist. St. Thomas had to maximize its opportunities with just 13 shots on goal against the Gusties, and they did exactly that. Demi Cooper struck gold on the power play just before the mid point of the frame to put St. Thomas up early. The Gusties issued their rebuttal at 13:16 on Amelia Vosen's fourth goal of the season, but McLean scored late in the period and Rachel Werdin scored early in the second period to seal the deal as goaltenders Kenzie Torpy and Amanda DiNella held the game scoreless the rest of the way.
On Saturday, it was a bit more challenging for the Tommies. Gustavus scored twice in the first 6:12, including Grace Schulte's second of the season just 28 seconds into the matchup to put the Tommies behind after the first period for just the third time this season. The plot thickened in a scoreless second period with DiNella and Torpy again back to their reliable ways, and the Gusties had the Tommies seemingly on the ropes by becoming the first team to lead them through 40 minutes all year. Eventually the visitors got their sigh of relief in the third. Maddy Fiedler halved the lead at 3:44, and the score was later squared by Allison Parnell with just over 5 minutes left. St. Thomas had to navigate a pair of late penalty kills, including one in overtime to remain undefeated, but in the end Gustavus did hand St. Thomas their first blemish of the season in a 2-2 tie.
NEHC: New England College Men Preserve Unbeaten Streak, Hobart Overtaken By Norwich
The New England College men could be playing their way into a ranked spot on Monday afternoon after they continued to build on a recent hot streak this weekend. The Pilgrims are now 10-3-3, and are unbeaten in their last nine games to rank as the third longest unbeaten streak in the nation. It wasn't going to be easy to keep what was a seven game streak alive coming in with games against No. 8 UMass Boston and No. 14 Babson on tap, but the Pilgrims started the tough weekend quite well as they continued to build on the nationwide turmoil and topped the Beacons on Friday, 3-2. The Pilgrims darted out to a 3-0 advantage before nearly collapsing late as the Beacons scored twice in just under two minutes to make it a one goal game. Former Neumann goaltender Anthony Pupplo made 36 saves for the Pilgrims. Babson would deny the Pilgrims a second win on Saturday as the Beavers and New England College settled for the 4-4 stalemate. The Pilgrims erased a one goal hole in the third period and took the lead before Babson's Nick Rosa scored less than a minute later to re-tie the score on the way to the tie. The Pilgrims sit in third place despite an unbeaten weekend against the two teams in front of them in the NEHC standings.
The Norwich Cadets currently find themselves in less traveled territory with a sixth place standing, but that didn't stop them from wrangling Hobart on Friday by a 4-2 score. A string of second period penalties came back to hurt the Statesmen in a big way as Norwich went off for three power play goals, two from Coby Downs, en route to a 3-1 lead after two periods. Hobart got the glimmer of hope they needed on an unassisted marker by TJ Schultz in the opening moments of the third, but the Cadets scored again with just over eight minutes left to seal the deal. Norwich was 3-for-8 on the power play in a game where they were outshot 36-23.
Collision Course Possible For The Men, Women's Contenders With Much To Sort Out
There is still a lot to sort out in the race for the men's national title, and plenty of hockey left to play, but it remains to be seen if anyone can stop the top two teams in the nation right now. While this game has a funny way of throwing us all a curveball somewhere at year's end, it still remains to be seen if anyone can stop the top two teams in the D3hockey.com Men's Top 15. No. 1 UW-Stevens Point hasn't lost all year and is 17-0-2 in 19 games played. No. 4 Augsburg tried its luck against the Pointers this weekend only to get turned away by a 3-1 score. 1-0 deficit coming out of the first was quickly turned around by goals by Jordan Fader, Tanner Karty, and BJ Duffin in the second. The Karty and Duffin goals were scored just eight seconds apart to place the Pointer veterans in the Top 5 all-time in NCAA history for fastest consecutive goals. The Pointers later came out on top against St. John's on Saturday by a 4-1 score, and have UW-Eau Claire coming up in a WIAC title rematch on Friday night.
Geneseo is also on a tear as the Knights are perfect in 12 straight, and eleven of those games were decided by two goals or more. Nazareth gave the Knights a good run last weekend but were unable to get over the hill against a team that hasn't lost in two months. This past weekend, Geneseo topped Lebanon Valley 6-2, and dominated Stevenson the following day 7-0. Goaltender Devin McDonald now has eight shutouts this season and has developed into an elite goaltender, and he could have yet another frozen four run in him yet after taking the Knights there three years ago.
It's surely up for grabs still, but with the way those two teams have performed, the thought that they might be on a collision course for the national title has to at least cross the brain at this time of year, because it's starting to make more sense by the day.
Among the women's contenders, the usual suspects are still the most identifiable teams that could be left at the end, but to predict who will be left standing at the very end will be a difficult exercise. Adrian won the Cardinal/Panther Classic earlier this year, a tournament in which Plattsburgh also took Elmira down 3-0. The Bulldogs returned East at the start of this month and got beat by both Plattsburgh and Norwich, and Elmira responded to an earlier loss against Plattsburgh with a 4-1 win while also dominating Norwich. In short, we know who should be among the last survivors in the NCAA tournament already, but the only thing certain otherwise is that it's frankly all uncertain. And then you add in the West region and the picture just gets murkier with the regional gap closing. National parity took a big step forward last year and that trend is highly likely to continue, and that's the best thing the game could ask for.
High Drama For Oswego Men
Two teams located in central New York with a tendency to meet in high profile games delivered another tight game on Friday night as Utica tied No. 5 Oswego, 3-3. The Pioneers took three different leads in the game, including a short lived one in the third period before settling for the 3-3 tie against the Lakers. D3hockey.com was there on Friday night and we have a full recap of that game for you here.
The Lakers dealt with a different kind of drama on Saturday as their offense struggled to finish for two periods and a second period goal by Elmira's Chris Moses held as the difference through two periods. That all changed in the third as the Lakers threw a switch to fire up their offense, and Josh Leblanc, Travis Broughman, Max Novick, and Jody Sullivan all scored as a four goal third helped Oswego topple Elmira, 4-1.
Other Women's Notes
- No. 1 Elmira got a firm challenge against a Manhattanville team capable of stirring the pot as they nabbed a pair of 2-0 victories against the Valiants. The Soaring Eagles are still undefeated in conference play, but presently sit third in the UCHC point standings with games in hand.
- No. 5 Adrian needed overtime to slip by upset-minded Trine University as the Thunder fell to the Bulldogs 2-1 on Saturday. Kortney Diaz netted the extra session game-winner for the former No. 1 team in the country.
- Augsburg gave No. 7 Hamline all it could handle this weekend, as the Auggies tied the Pipers 2-2 and came up just short the following day in a 3-2 game. In the second game, Hamline spotted the Auggies a 2-0 advantage through 6:19 of the second period, only to make up the stagger in the final 30 minutes with three unanswered goals to win it.
- Jacque Rogers stopped 36 of 37 shots to lift Lake Forest to a 3-1 win over UW-Eau Claire on Friday. The Forresters and Blugolds split the non-conference weekend.