The men’s hockey team played its first two games of the season last weekend against a Midwest Collegiate Hockey Association conference rival, the Concordia University Falcons. The Vikings won at home at the Appleton Family Ice Center 4-2, and tied 2-2 on the road in Mequon, Wisc. The Vikings start their season with a 1-0-1 record.
The Vikings enjoyed being at home with a great crowd on their side Friday. They scored the first three goals of the game to distance themselves from the Falcons. Senior Matt Hughes got the first goal of the season seven minutes into the game off assists from sophomore William Thoren and freshman Gustav Lindgren. Hughes scored again with less than a minute left in the first period and the Vikings had a 2-0 advantage at halftime.
The second period was relatively quiet except when Thoren blasted a shot past the Falcon goalie six minutes into the period. The Vikings had a 3-0 lead going into the third and final period.
After two Concordia goals within the first 10 minutes, bringing the Vikes’ lead to one goal, sophomore Paul Zuke sealed the deal with a goal in the 11th minute based on assists from sophomore Huck Saunders and senior Sam Johnson. Freshman Peter Emery made his first collegiate start in goal for Lawrence and had 33 saves to contribute to the victory.
The following day at Concordia, Lawrence built a 2-0 lead going into the final minutes of regulation. Johnson scored on a power play in the second period off of assists from junior Brad Scurfield and junior Phil Bushbacher. Scurfield then scored a goal of his own at the beginning of the third period off an assist from Bushbacher. However, the Falcons scored twice to force overtime where neither team scored. The game ended in a draw. Freshman Anton Olsson made his first collegiate start in goal for the Vikings and stopped 31 shots.
After a great home opener, the Vikings fell short of a victory in the second game even though they had a 59-33 shot advantage. Thoren commented, “We did not play to our full capacity in either of the games. We played better and with more passion the second game except that we couldn’t find the back of the net.”
When asked about how the team feels after their first weekend of games, Saunders responded, “Not satisfied. It is a short season and every point matters. It was a good wake up call. We know what we need to do to not miss any more opportunities.”
The Vikings’ next two games are Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 12 at 4 p.m. — both at the Appleton Family Ice Center, and both against the Northland College Lumberjacks.