Minnesota Hockey Magazine

WCCHA Weekly Spotlight: St. Thomas and Northern Michigan Battle to Series Split

WCCHA Featured Series of the Week – NMU at UST
(Photos courtesy of UST, series summary by UST coach and
WCCHA Commissioner, Ryan Donovan)

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St. Paul, St. Thomas Academy Arena. In two hard fought games this past weekend, St. Thomas and Northern Michigan each came away with a share of the spoils. Northern Michigan came into the series off a two game series loss at the hands of Minnesota-Duluth, while St. Thomas returned home looking for some momentum after a disappointing road split against Wisconsin.

On Friday night, the action started early as both teams created chances as they felt out the opposing goaltenders. It was the home team that took advantage of a powerplay midway through the first, as Freshman Will Pavek finished off a nice bit of movement from John Watson and Shael Hechter to take the 1-0 lead. A little over three minute later, the advantage grew to two as Pavek once again found the net through Hechter and Patrick Kegley.

The strong play continued through the second and into the third, but neither team could breach the net until St. Thomas’ Sam Olson slid one in with just over five minutes left in the third to take a 3-0 lead. The held through to the final buzzer. St. Thomas goalie Zach Vaughn earned the shutout by turning aside an impressive 47 shots, while a strong showing by NMU goaltender Jeff Ryan, with 40 saves himself, was left unrewarded.

A different script played out on Saturday, as Northern Michigan took advantage of an injury-depleted St. Thomas team to earn a 6-3 victory. NMU struck first just under 7 minutes in as captain Evan Weber started the scoring with a solo effort. In the second period, UST responded through Olson only for NMU to answer on the powerplay with a a goal by Eric Wozny, setup by Kellen Michalak and Anders Carlson, to take a 2-1 lead into the second intermission.

The action in the third was fast and furious, but it was NMU who took advantage and came out on top. The Tommies tied the game halfway through the period on a snipe by Alex Turtinen, but the Wildcats immediately responded with a powerplay goal from Evan Weber. Only 11 second later, the game was once again tied as UST forward Max Mork stuffed one in on a feed from Derek Budde. Northern Michigan once again rose to the challenge and took control of the game for good on a goal from John Werenka, adding two more via a shorthanded tally from Kellen Michalak and a beautiful powerplay goal finished by Carlson.

With the split, St. Thomas goes to 5-5-0 in the WCCHA and 9-8-0 overall, while Northern Michigan sits at 2-3-1 in the WCCHA and 10-10-1 overall.

IN NON-CONFERENCE PLAY

UMD at St. Mary’s.  Summary by UMD coach, Brice Wizner.

With an already small roster of 20 skaters, and close to half the team injured, the Bulldogs found themselves playing the St. Mary’s Cardinals for the first time in school history with only two lines.  The team had to focus on strong defensive positioning and early period pressure in order to pull off another big sweep.  Saturday was the opener of the weekend, and rookies Tommy Rice and CJ LaChappelle came to play, as Rice buried two in the same shift driving wide with speed and picking his corners.  LaChappelle finished the Cardinals off with the game winner late in the third.  Score, 3-2.  The second game was set for noon on Sunday and after a good nights rest the team came to play.  Two quick goals in the first ended up being the only of the game as Brendan Johnson and Tommy Rice each finished by crashing the net hard and finding the twine.  Noah White had a phenomenal game posting his first shutout as a Bulldog Sunday afternoon.  Score, 2-0.

UMD is back in action on Saturday for a rematch of the conference championship, as they take on a tough St. Cloud State team in Duluth at the DEC.

CONFERENCE RESULTS

Friday, November 15:

  • St. Thomas – 3, Northern Michigan – 0
  • St. Cloud State – 9, Wisconsin – 3

Saturday, November 16:

  • St. Thomas – 3, Northern Michigan – 6
  • St. Cloud State – 10, Wisconsin – 1

Sunday, November, 17:

  • Minnesota – 4, Northern Michigan – 3

NON-CONFERENCE RESULTS

Friday, November 15:

  • UW-Eau Claire – 10, UW-Oshkosh – 2

Saturday, November 16:

  • UW-Eau Claire – 11, UW-Oshkosh – 6
  • Missouri – 5, Waldorf – 3
  • UMD – 3, St. Mary’s – 2

Sunday, November 17:

  • Missouri – 4, Waldorf – 8
  • UMD – 2, St. Mary’s – 0

CURRENT STANDINGS

2013-11-19 22_21_15-wccha_new_logo_chkf_v21) Waldorf College – 13 PTS (8 GP, 6-1-1)
2) St. Cloud State – 11 PTS (8 GP, 5-2-1)
3) St. Thomas – 10 PTS (10 GP, 5-5-0)
4) Minnesota-Duluth – 8 PTS (8 GP, 4-4-0)
5) Wisconsin-Eau Claire – 7 PTS (6 GP, 3-2-1)
6) Minnesota – 6 PTS (7 GP, 3-4-0)
7) Northern Michigan – 5 PTS (6 GP, 2-3-1)
8) Wisconsin – 2 PTS (8 GP, 1-7-0)