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Falcons upset by Saints in first round of St. Peter’s Cup playoffs

February 28, 2008

The UW-River Falls men’s hockey team fell in the first round of the St. Peter’s Cup playoffs to the visiting St. Scholastica Saints.

The Falcons entered the Feb. 21-22 series as the second seed in the NCHA; while the Saints were sitting at No. 7.

However, the season’s records did not seem to matter as the Falcons lost the first game by a score of 5-2 and the Saints won the series with a 3-3 tie Saturday night.

The Falcons were looking to get up early on the Saints, but it didn’t seem to happen in the first game.

On Friday night, the Saints took the early lead just 26 seconds into the game with a goal by Neal Sauter. Jordan Chong gave the Saints a 2-0 lead, before Falcon forward Tyler Czuba brought the game to within one. The Saints however would gain a three goal lead before the end of the first period with goals by Simren Sandhu and Matt Stangl.

In the second period, UWRF’s Dustin Norman pulled the Falcons to within two, with his goal, but the Saints Jordan Baird scored in the third period to finish the scoring for the game.

The Falcons had to win Saturday night to stay alive in the playoff picture. Jim Henkemeyer scored in the first period to give the Falcons a 1-0 lead after the end of the period.

However, in the second AJ Tucker from Scholastica tied the game at one. About midway through the period Falcon junior forward Dustin Norman scored the go-ahead goal and about seven minutes later he added another for good measure.

Going into the third period down by two, the Saints came back with two power-play goals to tie the game, one by Jordan Baird and another by Jeff Gangon.

The game was tied at three going into overtime and that’s how the game ended with the two teams skating to a tie.

The tie sent the Saints to the second round of the Peter’s Cup playoffs and leaves the Falcons waiting to see if they will be extended a bid into the national tournament.

The Saints will be at St. Norbert Saturday night.

“It’s very disappointing,” Freeman said. “It’s certainly a hallow feeling after all the work you did all year.”

The Falcons got the week off from practice this week, but Freeman hopes with their strong regular season they will receive a bid.

Although the early exit in the playoffs left a sour taste in the mouth of some players and fans, good news for the Falcons Wednesday.

Six players were named to the All-WIAC hockey teams and Freeman was named Coach of the Year.

Patrick Borgestad, TJ Dahl, Henkemeyer, Derek Hansberry, Norman and Josh Meyers received those honors.