Compiled by D3hockey.com staff --
While most of the country was wrapping up its regular season, the postseason kicked off in the West Region on Friday night as four NCHA quarterfinal and one WIAC first round series got underway. All are first-to-three point series that will head to game twos on Saturday but as far as Friday's outcomes were concered, three favorites and two underdogs claimed 1-0 series leads.
|Marian's Gianni Mangone scored twice in the 13th-ranked Sabres' 4-1 series opening win over St. Scholastica.
Photo: Steve Frommell for d3photography.com
In the WIAC, UW-River Falls finished 1-6-1 in conference play to earn the fifth and bottom seed but the Falcons opened their postseason strong with a 7-1 win at UW-Superior.
Superior actually got on the board first with a Daniel Litchke goal at 8:49 of the first, but River Falls tied things up with a Cayden Cahill power play goal late in the period and from there it was all Falcons. Peter Karavos, Joe Drapluk and Austin Miller all scored in the second period to extend the lead to 4-1, while David Landau, Christian Hausinger and Karavos all struck in the third.
River Falls finished the night 4-for-8 on the powerplay en route to piling up a 45-27 shot advantage. Zach Quinn finished with 26 saves to get the win in goal for the Falcons.
In the NCHA, Adrian, St. Norbert and Marian all scored home wins, while Lake Forest went on the road and upended Concordia (Wis.).
In Adrian, the South Division and top overall seed Bulldogs received a stiff test from a game MSOE, but Taylor McCloy's second goal of the game 4:44 into the third period staked the Bulldogs a 3-1 lead, and though MSOE's Jerad Tafoya scored on the power play at 8:08, McCloy's tally proved enough as the Bulldogs held on for the 3-2 win. Kyle Brothers assisted on both of McCloy's goals and goaltender Kevin Entmaa made 22 saves to get the win.
The North Division champs and second overall seed, St. Norbert, also was tested as visiting Lawrence scored on the power play with 13:40 to go to cut St. Norbert's lead to one, but the Green Knights' Tanner Froese answered at 17:26 to make it a 3-1 game, which is how the contest ended. Luke Karakas and Peter Bates also scored for St. Norbert, which outshot Lawrence 42-22 on the night. St. Norbert's T.J. Black nailed down the win in goal -- his 21st of the year which stands as most in the country.
Marian also notched a win at home as a Nick Monfils power play goal at 14:46 of the first it 2-1 Sabres and proved the eventual game-winner in a 4-1 triumph over St. Scholastica. Connor Blanck tallied in the second period for Marian while Gianni Mangone added another in the third. Mangone's was his second of the game as he also scored the Sabres' first of the night. Curtis Lewington added a pair of assist for Marian, which outshot St. Scholastica 34-21.
Last but not least, Lake Forest was the lone road victor in the NCHA as the Foresters dumped Concordia (Wis.), 5-3. After a scoreless opening period the two traded second period goals and it was knotted, 2-2, after 40 minutes, but Lake Forest scored twice in the opening ten minutes of the third period to establish a lead it never relinquished. Concordia's Connor Hogg scored an extra-attacker goal with 1:05 to go to make it a 4-3 game, but the Foresters' Drew Cleereman buried at empty-netter in the closing minute to put the game on ice. Cleereman finished with a pair of goals and two assists to lead Lake Forest, while Kyler Magus added a goal and two assists.