If Saint Mary’s was looking to open 2020 with a bang, it accomplished the mission.
The Cardinals made a statement on a trip out East, winning both of their games over nationally ranked teams to claim the championship at the Oswego State Hockey Classic, including a 1-0 win over the 10th-ranked host team.
They finished off the tournament with a 4-2 win over Williams. Fellow MIAC team Saint John’s split its weekend tournament in Boston.
In other big games Wisconsin-Superior solidified its hold on first place in the WIAC while St. Norbert continued to roll along with another NCHA sweep.
Here’s a look at the top storylines from the latest weekend of hockey in the west region.
Cardinals go unbeaten in tournament
It was an impressive 30-save effort by Al Rogers that helped Saint Mary’s pull off the upset of Oswego. He came through with his first career shutout at the college level in helping the Cardinals nail down the stunning victory.
Tommy Stang provided the only goal the Cardinals would need to earn the win, scoring in the final seconds of the opening period. The win is the first for Saint Mary’s over a ranked team this season.
In the finale against Williams, the 14th-ranked team in the country, the Cardinals, the lone unranked team in the tourney, jumped in front 3-0 and never looked back.
Rogers eventually gave up two goals but it mattered little in the end as he still came through with 37 saves and was named the MVP of the tournament.
Stang scored once and Jack Stang punched in a pair of goals. Sam Hanson also scored for the Cardinals, who are now 5-5-1 on the season.
Saint Mary’s has won its last three games and have plenty of momentum heading into their home-and-home showdown with St. Thomas. The Cardinals and Tommies will play a pair of games this coming weekend.
Jack and Tommy Stang are the top two scorers for the Cardinals on the year, combining for eight goals and 15 assists. Rogers is 3-1 on the season and has made 122 saves.
Johnnies bounce back in Boston
Saint John’s bounced back from its 4-2 loss to Hobart Friday by grinding out a 5-4 win in overtime against Nichols Sunday in the consolation game of the Boston Landing Tournament.
Travis Brown was clutch in a big moment, scoring the game-winner as he propelled the Johnnies to their third win of the season. The goal by Brown was his fifth of the year. He scored it with 52 seconds left in OT as the Johnnies ended a five-game winless streak.
Tanner Dufault gave the Johnnies an early 1-0 lead and Peter Tabor and Troy Dobbs tallied goals to help the Johnnies overcome a 3-1 deficit. Tabor cut the lead to two late in the second period and Dobbs tied the game a minute into the third.
Brady Dahl put Saint John’s on top 4-3 but Nichols was able to counter to force OT.
Mac Berglove came up big in goal for the Johnnies, tallying 22 saves to earn his second save of the year and the 10th of his career.
Yellow Jackets keep streak alive
Wisconsin-Superior stretched its unbeaten streak to five games Friday with a 5-2 win over Northland. The Yellow Jackets completed the season sweep of the Lumberjacks and are all alone in first place with a three-point lead over Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
At 10-2 overall and 5-2 in the WIAC, UW-Superior has already matched its win total from a season ago.
Chad Lopez helped lead the way with a goal and an assist. Dylan Johnson, Ty Proffitt and Andrew Durham also scored goals, as did Troy York, who scored his eighth goal of the year.
This was the fifth time this season UW-Superior has hit the 40-shot mark as it tallied 45. Myles Hektor made his third start in goal this year and is now 3-0-1. He made 23 saves.
Foresters silence the Thunder
Lake Forest capped off a big weekend with a 4-1 win over Trine. The 13th-ranked Foresters opened the weekend with a 4-2 victory.
Boyd DiClemente stopped 30 shots for Lake Forest in the series finale and improved to 11-2-1 on the year. The Foresters are 8-1 in league play.
Austin Aksoy scored his seventh goal of the year, tying him for the team-lead while Josh Giacomin came through with two goals, giving him four for the weekend. Drew Shields scored his fourth goal of the year.
Lake Forest is on a roll to say the least. The Foresters have won their last six games and haven’t lost a game since Nov. 19. They have scored three or more goals in each game during their win streak.
Vikings back on track
Lawrence opened the weekend with a 3-2 win and then capped off the series with a 3-2 victory. The Vikings had lost their last three going into the weekend. They are now 5-8-1 overall, 4-5-1 in NCHA play and have already matched their win total from a season ago.
Lawrence trailed 1-0 early but Tyler Jensen tied the game at 1-1 after two periods of play.
Jake Drinkard put the Vikings on top for good and Matt Meininger added an insurance goal for Lawrence, which won despite being outshot 39-32.
Brian Tallieu stepped up in goal and managed to make 38 saves. Tallieu has two wins on the year and has made 152 saves.
Drinkard leads the team in goals scored with seven. He has also dished out three assists.
Green Knights continue to roll
St. Norbert survived a thriller in overtime Friday with a 3-2 win and then rolled over MSOE 7-3 on Saturday to complete the sweep.
The Green Knights have now won their last five games and have momentum on their side as they look to contend for another NCHA crown.
St. Norbert evens its overall record at 7-7 and is 4-4 in the conference. The Green Knights trailed for the 10th time in the last 14 games before taking control.
Kurt Black scored twice and now has 11 goals on the season. Black also tallied an assist in the win. Max Branin came through wiht a goal and two assists while Peyton Frantti and Ben Schmidling both tallied a goal and an assist.
The Green Knights got a big lift between the pipes from Colby Entz, who came up with 36 saves in the win.