March 2, 2010

By Amy Farnum

Gustavus Adolphus College survived a four-overtime 6-5 battle with Augsburg on Feb. 27 – the longest game in Division III men’s hockey history – to advance to the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship game against St. Thomas on March 3.

The game lasted 138:38 minutes, surpassing the previous Division III mark by almost 40 minutes.  It is the second longest game all-time in collegiate men’s hockey.  Senior forward Eric Bigham netted the game winning score at 18:38 in the fourth overtime as the Gusties moved on to challenge for the MIAC tournament title.  Gustavus claimed its first regular season league title since 1993 with 26 points.

While Augsburg’s season has ended, it should not go without noting the performance of first-year goaltender Justin Lochner, who tallied an NCAA single-game record 98 saves.  The previous mark of 95 was set by Northland’s Daniel McIntosh in January 2009.  Lochner was named MIAC Player of the Week for his stellar play.

Senior forward David Martinson, who registered two goals in the contest, was recently MIAC Player of the Year after leading the league with 36 points in 16 regular season games.

ON A ROLL:  Top-ranked Norwich University made winning look easy with an 8-1 victory over University of New England as the Cadets collected their fifth straight win in an ECAC East Tournament quarterfinal contest on Feb. 27.

Since falling to Williams, 2-1, in their only loss of the season on Feb. 6, Norwich has reeled off five consecutive wins, outscoring foes, 32-8.

Norwich will host the ECAC East Tournament championship weekend, beginning with the Cadets’ semifinal match-up against New England College on March 5.  The Cadets are gunning for their eighth league title and the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

NEW YORK STATE OF MIND:  Two-time defending SUNYAC champion Plattsburgh State and second-ranked Oswego State will meet for the third straight year in the league’s championship game on March 6.

The Cardinals are making their 19th consecutive appearance in the conference finals, sparked by All-SUNYAC Dylan Clarke’s three-goal outing versus Brockport in the league semifinals.  It was Clarke’s second career hat trick.

Oswego’s 8-5 win over Morrisville in the SUNYAC semifinals allowed the Lakers to rebound from a loss to Geneseo on Feb. 20 that ended the squad’s 22-game winning streak.  During the successful stretch, the Lakers downed Plattsburgh twice in regular season action.

UP FOR GRABS:  The Midwest Collegiate Hockey Association’s first-ever automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament is on the line this weekend at Adrian University on March 5-6.

Semifinal action begins with Lake Forest against Marian University, followed by Lawrence and Adrian on March 5.  Lake Forest, in its first season of Division III play, pulled off an upset of No. 2 seeded MSOE last weekend to advance to the semifinals.
No. 10 Adrian has won 27 straight games on its’ home ice entering the MCHA Harris Cup semifinals.  The league champion will be crowned on March 6.

FALCONS FLY: UW-River Falls is making its first appearance in the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association finals since 2003-04 after upending then-No. 6 St. Scholastica, 6-3, on Feb. 27.

The Falcons, who vaulted six spots to No. 9 in the Division III poll, will meet top-seeded St. Norbert for the fourth time this season in the NCHA Peters Cup Championship game on March 6.  The Green Knights won all three regular season contests.  UW-River Falls are riding a three-game winning streak, and has lost just once in its’ last eight contests.