SUPERIOR, Wis. -- Chris Berenguer is a two-time All-American and was named the MIAC player-of-the-year this afternoon, but the biggest goal of his collegiate career came just before the seven-minute mark of overtime tonight, as he scored the game winner in a 3-2 win at UW-Superior in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

After the game, Berenguer said “I don’t know how the puck got to me, I looked down and the puck was at my feet.”

The Pipers played the role of the home team on the scoreboard as they held the higher seed heading into the game. Beau Christian, who made 36 stellar saves, pointed out that although “It was different being the home team on the road, we have a corps group of guys who can set up camp anywhere,” therefore creating a home ice feel for the Pipers.

In the opening period of play, Hamline jumped quickly into the offensive zone, taking the first shot of the game. The Yellowjackets found the post twice in the period, but neither team scored in the opening 20 minutes of play.

Exactly two minutes into the second period, Ryan Kupperman slid the puck to Brian Arrigoni in the slot for Hamline’s first potential scoring opportunity of the period. The Yellowjackets thwarted the attempt with a penalty, but gave the Pipers the power play.

The third power play of the game was the charm for the Pipers, as Tim Olson fed Jordan Van Gilder on the far side of the left circle. Van Gilder then put the puck in on the power play at 3:51 for the 1-0 lead.

Superior quickly went on the attack, but ended up with another clanging post shot instead of finding the back of the net.

The Yellowjackets’ patience paid off, however, as they evened up the score, 1-1, at 10:31 in the second period. Josh Kesler picked up a rebound in the slot, and slid it past Beau Christian on the glove side.

Christian preserved the tie at 14:15 with a spectacular save at the top of the crease, stopping Tyler Klein after he stole the puck in the neutral zone for the breakaway.
Superior took a 2-1 lead with 45 seconds left in the second period as Talon Berlando scored.

In the third period, Superior controlled the puck for most of the period, but Hamline made the most of one of their possessions to tie the game and send it to overtime. Danny Vranek scored at 11:15 from Jay Fifield and Cory Belisle.

Christian was peppered by the Yellowjackets in the final 80 seconds of regulation and made three outstanding saves in net during that time to send the teams into overtime. Christian made 33 saves in regulation as Superior out-shot Hamline, 35-26.

In overtime, Superior continued to hold the puck in their offensive zone, but made the mistake of letting the Piper power play unit back on to the ice. Hamline immediately went to work, and at 6:41, Berenguer punched the puck in the net while camped out by the left post for the win.

Arrigoni and Alex Lundbohm were credited with the assists on the game-winner.

Christian recorded 36 saves in the game for Hamline.

Hamline is now 17-6-5 overall while UW-Superior ends the season at 16-13-1. The Pipers now move on to play at St. Norbert on Saturday, March 12, at 7:00 p.m. in the NCAA quarterfinal game. The winner of that game will earn a spot in the NCAA Final Four at Ridder Arena on the campus of the University of Minnesota, March 25th and 26th.