Viking hockey returned to the ice this past weekend to take on conference opponent Finlandia University. Lawrence was looking to bounce back after dropping two non-conference road games to UW-Eau Claire and St. Mary’s January 4th and 5th.Finlandia was no easy opponent having won the MCHA playoffs last year. On Friday night, the Vikings won a thriller 5-3. The Vikes set the pace early by finishing their checks and making
quick passes to get the puck out of their zone and into Finlandia’s end. The Vikings were shorthanded early in the game but was able to score anyway. Neil Wallace (’09) crossed the blue line and dropped the puck back to Corey Garrett (’11). Garrett took a slap shot that found the back of the net at 7:20 into the first.
The play continued to be physical, which led to a Finlandia penalty. Masa Takahashi (’10) took advantage on the power play with a goal at 16:22 into the first.
The second period continued with strong play on the man advantage for the Vikings. Josh DeSmit (’11) finished some nice passing scoring a power play goal at 0:21 into the second.
Nick Jennette (’09) added another power play tally at 5:00 into the second period off a rebound. Finlandia was not content to sit back and let the Vikings roll and did not wait long to retaliate.
The Vikings went into the box and Finlandia’s Ryan Sullivan scored at 7:02. The Vikings did not learn from their mistake and ended up giving up two more power play goals before the end of the second, making the score 4-3 going into the third.
The third period was a back and forth battle with both teams looking to make the big hit and score. Defenseman Pat Brenner (’11) found himself on a break away with all five Finlandia players trying to catch up.
Brenner took a shot from the right side to put the Vikings up 5-3. The game ended as physical as it began, leaving the spectators ready for the next night. Goalkeeper Jimmy Ryan (’11) played spectacularly for the Vikings, turning away 32 shots throughout the game.
Finlandia’s keeper Ryan Donovan got the loss for the Lions turning away 6 on 9 shots. Lukas Alberer came in to relieve Donovan letting in 2 goals on 17 shots.
Saturday night the Vikings looked flat. The hitting that had so defined the game the night before was missing. Finlandia opened the scoring at 4:24 of the first, and followed with three goals in the second to make the score 4-0.
Scott Minarcik (’11) was injured during the second period and despite athletic trainer Lisa Krantz’s best efforts, Minercik did not to return to the ice.
The third period saw Finlandia scoring three more goals. Jennette took the Lawrence zero off the board at 12:46 into the third with a shot from the right sideboard glove side high.
Marc Howe (’10) scored Lawrence’s second goal on a shot between the goalies blocker and chest at 16:03 of the third. Alberer got the win for Finlandia with 20 saves.
Ryan turned away 32 goals and let in six. Riley Stank (’11) caught a few minutes at the end of the second period letting in one goal on four shots.