The Lawrence men’s hockey team continued its winning ways with two victories against the Finlandia University Lions Feb. 10 and 11 at the Appleton Family Ice Center.
Lawrence took a 5-2 victory the first game and won again 4-2 the next day. The Vikings now have an overall record of 11-9-3 with a 10-5-3 record in Midwest Collegiate Hockey Association play. With these victories, they remain tied with the Marian University Sabres for first place in the MCHA’s Northern Division.
In the first game, the Vikings got on the board just two minutes into the second period after a scoreless first. Junior forward Phil Bushbacher scored off of assists from sophomore defender William Thoren and sophomore forward Paul Zuke. The score would remain that way until the Lions tied it up with 1:45 left in the second period.
Finlandia then took the lead at the beginning of the third period. After holding the lead for six minutes, a Finlandia player was penalized for crosschecking and the Vikings made them pay on the power play. Thoren scored the equalizer off of passes from senior defender Jameson Raymond and freshman forward Gustav Lindgren.
The floodgates then opened as Zuke, senior forward Matt Hughes, and senior forward Sam Johnson each scored over the last ten minutes of the third period as Lawrence sealed the victory. It was about time the Vikings capitalized; they enjoyed a 58-25 shots on goal advantage.
The next day, Finlandia struck first just over a minute into the game with a goal. With one minute left in the period, a Finlandia player got penalized with hooking. With just one second remaining, Raymond tied the game. Hughes and junior forward Brad Scurfield were credited with the assists. Lawrence then grabbed the lead late in the second period as Bushbacher scored off of passes from Hughes and freshman forward Kevin Killian.
The Vikings then extended their league 43 seconds into the third period as Scurfield scored with Raymond and Thoren getting the assists. With less than two minutes remaining, Finlandia pulled their goaltender to put an extra attacker on the ice and the Lions scored with just over a minute remaining. With it now being a 3-2 game, the Lions pulled their goaltender again but Thoren put them away with an empty net goal with fifteen seconds left.
Lawrence now has a six game winning streak with two games left in the regular season, both against the Lake Forest College Foresters. Commenting on the wins, junior goaltender Michael Baldino said, “Two solid victories. We stayed aggressive and stuck to the system. If we keep up this consistency, we are a very dangerous team going into the playoffs.”
When asked how important it is to finish the season strong, Baldino responded, “Momentum is very important. We want to keep the ball rolling and finish in first place in our division.”
The Vikings travel to Lake Forest, Ill. Feb. 17 and then host the Foresters at the Appleton Family Ice Center Feb. 18 at 7 p.m.