As they end of the season is quickly approaching, the Lawrence University Hockey team faced off against the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) on Thursday, February 2nd and Friday, February 3rd. The Vikings hosted the first game while they traveled to Milwaukee for the rematch.
On Thursday night, after a relatively quiet first period, MSOE got on the board first when junior Jared Tafoya scored with just 23 seconds reaming in the period giving the Raiders a 1-0 lead. MSOE added to their lead at the 6:03 minute in the second period on a power play goal as senior Gage Christianson found the back of the net. The Vikings had a huge scoring opportunity in the 2nd period as they had a two-man advantage for about a minute, but they were unable to convert the power play. MSOE added one other goal in the 3rd period when junior Connor Enciso scored at the 3:31 mark, and they won the game 3-0. Despite leading shots 28-24, the Vikings were unable to score. This was the first time the team has been shut out since November 2015. Freshman Evan Cline had a strong performance in goal making 21 saves.
The second matchup started in a different fashion. At the 15:39 mark in the 1st period, the Vikings took the 1-0 lead on a goal by senior Sean Reynolds. He was assisted by freshman Daniel Gysi and freshman Matt Beranek. MSOE evened the score at 1-1 in the 3rd minute of the 2nd period on a goal from senior Brandon Unser. A little less than ten minutes later, at the 11:25 mark, MSOE went up 2-1 on a shorthanded goal by freshman Nick Redmon. The Vikings were able to tie up the score at 2-2 in the 3rd period. Junior Austin Frank, assisted by sophomore Josh Koepplinger, took advantage of a power play and found the back of the net at the 3:31 mark. This was the first goal of the season for Frank. After a scoreless overtime period, the game ended in a 2-2 tie. Cline had a spectacular performance in goal making 39 saves in the game.
With the pickup the of the point from the tie game, the Vikings (5-13-3, 4-9-3 NCHA) are sitting at fourth place in their division, only four points behind Northland College. To qualify for the playoffs, Lawrence will need to take over third place in the division standings. With only four games remaining in the season, there is little time for the Vikings to make up the difference. Their next series, on February 10th and 11th, is extremely important as they face-off against Northland. Both games are at home, the Appleton Family Ice Center at 7 p.m. on Friday and 4 p.m. on Saturday. This will be a huge opportunity for the Vikings to earn some much needed points while making sure that Northland cannot keep pace. As their season gets closer to its end, look for the Vikings to be playing their best hockey of the season as the lights get brighter.