Hockey splits at Finlandia

Ted Greeley

The men’s hockey team split with the Finlandia Lions in Hancock, Mich. this past weekend in the final regular season game of the year. The Vikings went into the final weekend with a chance to end up with a home ice advantage in the playoffs if they could overtake MSOE’s one-point advantage.
In the first game Friday night, the Vikings got on the board first with a goal by sophomore Jon Sacks who put the puck past the Finlandia goaltender, Lukas Alberer, at 7:54 into the first period. Freshmen Jacob Esch and Tom Gering assisted. The remainder of the first period was hotly contested, but neither team could take advantage of their opportunities.
An early Viking penalty in the second period set up a chance for the Lions. Finlandia’s Joe Beaudry tallied a power play goal to even the score at 3:28 into the period. Lawrence would push and take the lead several minutes later at 7:19 when freshman Scott Minarcik beat Alberer. Freshman Matt Jacobs and junior Aaron LaFave assisted. Two subsequent penalties put the Vikings down 5-on-3 and at 8:15 into the second period Finlandia tallied a goal to tie it up at 2. It looked like the second period would end 2-2, until M. Jacobs added a goal with 0:01 left on the clock. Freshman Scott Mincarcik and LaFave assisted.
The Lions made a strong push in the third period, out-shooting the Vikings 11-2. Stellar goaltending by freshman Evan Johnson gave the Vikings the 3-2 win.
Johnson made 23 saves in the contest while Alberer made 16 for the Lions.
Saturday night the game looked like it would be heading towards another closely contested affair, but Finlandia drew first blood. At 17:35 into the first, Keith Johnstone tallied a goal for the Lions, giving them the lead going into the second period.
The second period continued to go back-and-forth until Finlandia scored at 9:05 into the period. Lawrence responded with a goal by M. Jacobs at 11:51 into the period, with senior Neil Wallace and Esch assisting. Finlandia rebounded by scoring a short-handed goal at 14:08 into the period and add another goal at 17:40 to take a 4-1 lead into the third.
Lawrence brought the game to within two points in the third with a power play goal by senior captain Josh Peterson at 2:07 into the third, with sophomore Masa Takahashi and freshman Josh DeSmit assisting.
The game continued to be hard-fought, but a Viking penalty led to a Finlandia goal at 6:50 into the period. Sophomore Marc Howe scored on a 5-on-3 at 18:23 into the third period with freshman Corey Garrett assisting. A final push by the Vikings was to no avail as they fell 5-3.
Johnson made 22 saves on 27 shots, while Ryan Donovan made 17 saves on 20 shots for the Lions.
Although the Vikings made it to fourth place after the win on Friday night, a MSOE win on Saturday night put MSOE back into fourth. The Vikings will take on MSOE in the first round of the playoffs this Saturday and Sunday in Milwaukee.