Winter Break Roundup: Men’s Hockey

Mackenzie Dwyer

The Lawrence men’s hockey team opened their season last weekend with a home-and-home series against the Concordia University (Wisconsin) Falcons. The Vikings traveled to Mequon, Wisc.,  Nov. 2, and lost the contest 3-2.

The next night, the two teams squared off again at the Appleton Family Ice Center, and the Falcons emerged victorious again with the score 3-2. Lawrence starts their season 0-2-0 with a 0-2-0 record in MCHA play.

In the first match, Concordia struck first and quickly, scoring a goal 24 seconds into the game. About six minutes later, a Falcons player was penalized with interference, and the Vikings took advantage of the power play. Junior forward Huck Saunders equalized the game with a goal off of assists from freshmen Brandon Boelter and Logan Lemirande.

After finishing the first period tied 1-1, Concordia took the lead again on the power play after a charging penalty. The score remained 2-1 until the Falcons extended their lead late in the third period. The Vikings trimmed the lead back to one after Boelter scored 30 seconds later. Senior forward Brad Scurfield was credited with the assist. Lawrence was unable to tie the game up in the final few minutes.

The following night, the Vikings played their home opener in front of a very enthusiastic home crowd. After a scoreless first period, Lawrence grabbed their first lead of the season when Scurfield scored a goal midway through the second period off an assist from Lemirande.

The lead would hold until the third period. About two minutes into the final period, Concordia equalized the game and then took the lead two minutes later with a power play goal after a Viking roughing penalty. Lawrence did not go away as ten minutes later, senior forward Phil Bushbacher tied the game up with a goal assisted by freshman Rudi Pino. The final goal came during a very interesting scenario.

A Lawrence player was penalized with slashing and a Concordia player was penalized with cross-checking, creating a four-on-four match up on the ice. About 30 seconds later, a Vikings player was penalized with kneeing and the Falcons were on a four-on-three power play. Concordia capitalized about a minute later with the deciding goal. It was a very physical match as both teams combined for 25 penalties.

Losing their opening series is definitely not the way the team planned on starting off the season. Commenting on the losses, senior goaltender Michael Baldino said, “The first game, we shied away from our hardnosed style, and it caused us to fall behind. We lost a lot of the one-on-one battles. The second game, we played much better but didn’t find ways to put our shots in the net. Our penalties in the third period got is into trouble and ultimately cost us.”

The Vikings travel to Northland College this weekend for two games against the Lumberjacks. Looking ahead to those matches, junior defenseman William Thoren commented, “We are not satisfied with the results this past weekend. I believe we have the group of people that will bounce back. Everyone is excited to go up and play Northland, and right now our focus is on winning.”

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