Men’s hockey ranked in country after hot start
December 12, 2013
Eight games into the season, the men’s hockey team is sitting on top of the WIAC.
The team was picked to finish in third place in the preseason conference poll, behind both Stevens Point and defending national champion Eau Claire.
The recent success has not gone unnoticed. The team began the season unranked, but with a 9-1-1 record, it has climbed up to No. 15 in the NCAA rankings. However, while the Falcons do not trail Eau Claire or Stevens Point in the WIAC standings, it does trail them in the NCAA standings as Eau Claire is ranked No. 10, and Stevens Point is ranked No. 4.
While the conference standings will reflect which team comes away with the WIAC crown, it has no bearing on what team, or teams, make the NCAA tournament. Since there are only five teams in the WIAC, the conference champion does not garner a bid to the national tournament. Where the Falcons stand in the national rankings would play a large role in determining if the team moves on to the national tournament or not.
This past week the team kicked off WIAC play with a game at Stout.
The Blue Devils opened the game with a quick goal only a minute and 25 seconds into the game. The Falcons stormed back in the period with goals from both Taylor Burden and Christian George, both freshmen, to take a 2-1 lead.
Senior Jon Schreiner added a goal in the second period to extend the Falcons’ lead to 3-1. The goal was also the first point scored by the senior captain during the season.
The third period of the game featured a lot of scoring. Stout got the scoring started to cut the Falcons’ lead to 3-2. However, with seven minutes to go, freshman Mitch Kontny scored a power-play goal to put the Falcons back up by two.
However, Stout scored two goals within the final two minutes of the contest to send it to overtime. Burden added his second goal of the game only a minute and 30 seconds into overtime to give the Falcons the win.
A night later the Falcons were back at home to take on Superior. The game did not have the drama from the previous night.
Two goals from junior Willie Hess, plus goals from junior Blake Huppert and sophomore Zach Schrotenboer gave the Falcons a 4-0 lead after the first period.
Both Superior and River Falls added one goal apiece over the final two periods to make the final score 5-1 in favor of the Falcons.
The men’s hockey team played at St. John’s University on Thursday night, and will play another away game at Hamline University on Saturday.