St. Norbert Athletics
DULUTH, Minn. — Having endured a few weeks away from the friendly confines of Wessman Arena hasn’t slowed down the UW-Superior men’s hockey team much early in 2011 as the team entered Thursday evening’s NCHA contest with St. Norbert coming off an impressive sweep of UW-Stout the previous weekend.
And the Yellowjackets followed through on the momentum gained in the two wins against the Blue Devils by scoring twice late in the first period before playing sound defense the rest of the way to post a 3-0 win against the Green Knights at Amsoil Arena, their latest home-away-from-home.
With the victory, the Yellowjackets upped their overall record to 12-5-1 while also climbing into a first-place tie at 9-2-0 in league action with the Green Knights, who fell to 15-3-0 overall with the loss.
The win also gave UW-Superior netminder Drew Strandberg (Thunder Bay, Ontario) his first career shutout.
Neither team was able to sustain much offense through the opening 19 minutes of the first period.
The Yellowjackets would break through twice in the final minute however, taking the lead at 19:26 when Brett Meyers (Brooklyn Park, Minn.) and Logan Isley (Bonnyville, Alberta) skated in on a 2-on-1 break against St. Norbert goaltender B.J. O’Brien. Meyers’ initial shot from the right side was stopped by O’Brien before Isley collected the rebound at the far post and tapped a shot into the net, giving UW-Superior a 1-0 advantage.
UW-Superior would double their advantage just 19 seconds later when Justin Faryna (Calgary, Alberta) gained a turnover in the neutral zone and skated in for a partial breakaway in the final moments of the period. A St. Norbert defenseman would eventually tie-up Faryna on the break. Faryna would maintain pace on the shot, however, sliding the puck underneath O’Brien at 19:45, giving the Yellowjacketws a 2-0 edge after one.
The Green Knights would push hard in both the second and third period, outshooting UW-Superior 22-14 combined in the final two frames, attempting to cut into the Yellowjackets’ two-goal bulge.
But Strandberg would stand tall in the Yellowjacket net, stopping 33 shots for the game before Faryna added his second tally on an empty net goal at 19:46 of the third to seal the 3-0 win.
O’Brien made 20 saves for the Green Knights, who finished with a 33-23 edge in shots.
The two teams will play game two of their series at Amsoil Arena starting at 2:30 p.m. on Friday.