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Opinion

Falcon men’s hockey has good season away, leads to playoff push

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March 5, 2010

Last year at this time, the Falcon Men’s hockey team was packing up their bags, getting ready for the offseason, and trying to figure out how to win on the road.

The team went 1-11-1 on the road and just 10-15-2 overall. The poor away record led to their worst overall record since the 1991-92 season where they went 6-17- 1.

This year has been a completely different story. The Falcons have dominated the road side of their schedule going 10-1-2. In fact, the team has looked more comfortable on the road then they have at Hunt Arena this season. The team finished the season one game under .500 at home with a 6-7-0 record, but won both of their first round games of the NCHA Peter’s Cup against UW-Eau Claire to move ahead to 8-7-0 at home. Because of their up and down season at home, the Falcons had to rely on their road record to secure the third seed and home-ice in the first round for the tournament. They took care of UW-Eau Claire and found themselves in a semi-final match-up at St. Scholastica. The combination of the Falcons looking comfortable on the road and St. Scholastica recent struggles led to a 6-3 victory for the Falcons. The Falcons now have a re-match against St. Norbert, the only team to put a mark in the loss column on the road.

The Cornerstone Community Center is the home of the St. Norbert Green Knights hockey team and it has treated them well since it opened the doors in the 2000-01 season. The Green Knights are 101-10-5 all-time at the Cornerstone Community Center, which includes a 9-4-1 mark in its first year. In the last six seasons, the Green Knights have posted a 92-6-4 at the Cornerstone and three of those losses and a tie came in one season against the national champion, UW-Superior in 2001- 2002. Entering the 2007-2008 season, the Green Knights are 79-3-2 in its last 84 games at the Cornerstone and has seen a winning steak of 16 games there and also from 2002-2004 a 35-game winning streak.

The Falcons look to snap the three game losing streak against St. Norbert, dropping two games at Hunt Arena in November and losing the last game of the season up at the Cornerstone on February 13th. Including the playoffs the Falcons have won 7 of their last 8 games and are 11-3-1 since the mid-season break.

The Falcons will head to the Cornerstone looking to win their third NCHA Peter’s Cup Championship and their first one since 1996 when they defeated UW-Superior. Their first NCHA Peter’s Cup Championship was in 1988 when they defeated Bemidji State. The last time the Falcons made it to the NCHA Peter’s Cup Championship game; they lost at St. Norbert 2-0 in the 2003-04 season.

Derek Johnson is a student at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.