College men's hockey: Yellowjackets hold off Saints

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Wisconsin-Superior men's hockey forward Brad Phenow remembers his first game against rival St. Scholastica as a freshman in 2010.

Phenow will remember his last game against the Saints even more.

Phenow, a senior captain from Sauk Rapids, Minn., scored the game-winning goal and added two assists to lead UWS to a much-needed 3-2 nonconference victory on Saturday before 834 spectators at Mars Lakeview Arena, handing the Saints their first loss of the season.

The St. Scholastica-UWS matchup is always highly anticipated, but Saturday's game had a little added meaning as it was the only regular-season matchup between the clubs this season because of a changing conference landscape.

"I feel bad for the future players who won't get to experience this twice every year, but to be honest with you, if we're only going to play once, I'll take this," Phenow said with a grin. "It's a battle that is really going to be missed. My freshman year we opened up with St. Scholastica at our rink, so I learned pretty dang quick what this game means. It's a special matchup."

St. Scholastica (5-1-2) didn't get many opportunities in the first period, but they took advantage of them, going into the first intermission leading 2-1.

The second period was almost all UWS (3-4), with Jeff Forythe finding teammate Pat Dalbec sneaking behind the Saints' defense for a breakaway. Dalbec made it count, deking left with a stick fake and then beating Rundell with shot to the top-right corner of the net to knot it 2-2 at 5:25 in the second. The Yellowjackets would take their first lead at 12:52 in the period when Phenow got just enough on a backhander to sneak a low shot through Colin Rundell's leg.

"We had a little bit of a cold streak to start the season, but a game like that can turn it right around," Phenow said.

That's how it would stay as Drew Strandberg had eight of his 16 saves in the third period to keep St. Scholastica at bay.

This one went the way many of the fans expected: hard fought and down to the wire.

"I don't know if these games are always fun, but they're good games," UWS coach Dan Stauber said with a laugh. "I hope we continue to play them. You can see how much fun they are. It's great for local hockey. This is what it's all about. It'd be stupid for us not to play them."

St. Scholastica coach Mark Wick wasn't so sure, saying the teams definitely wouldn't play each other next season. St. Scholastica remains a member of the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association while UWS is in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference's newly formed hockey league.

One thing that is certain is small-college hockey in the Northland would never be the same without it.

"It's small, but it's big," Phenow said of the rivalry. "You've got bragging rights in the Twin Ports. The bridge battle is always the one you look for and circle on the calendar. You don't need anything to get yourself up for this one, so to score a goal makes it even more special for me. That will be the last time I ever play the Saints, and that's something that will stick with me for the rest of my life."

r As part of Military Appreciation Night, the Saints wore specially designed jerseys which will be auctioned off. They also featured Sgt. Kevin Beichler, a retired 23-year veteran who will graduate from St. Scholastica this spring with a management major and marketing minor.

Wisconsin-Superior 1-2-0--3

St. Scholastica 2-0-0--2

First period - 1. CSS, Josh Hansen (Brandon Nowakowski), 12:05; 2. UWS, Tanner Dion (Brad Phenow, Jeff Forsythe), 12:31; 3. CSS, Keegan Bruce (Derek Hills, Chad Golanowski), 12:43.

Second period - 4. UWS, Pat Dalbec (Phenow, Forsythe), 5:25; 5. UWS, Phenow (Nick Stoskopf), Tanner Dion), 12:52.

Third period - No scoring.

Saves - Drew Strandberg, UWS, 16; Colin Rundell, CSS, 25.

Wisconsin-Superior men's hockey forward Brad Phenow remembers his first game against rival St. Scholastica as a freshman in 2010.

Phenow will remember his last game against the Saints even more.

Phenow, a senior captain from Sauk Rapids, Minn., scored the game-winning goal and added two assists to lead UWS to a much-needed 3-2 nonconference victory on Saturday before 834 spectators at Mars Lakeview Arena, handing the Saints their first loss of the season.

The St. Scholastica-UWS matchup is always highly anticipated, but Saturday's game had a little added meaning as it was the only regular-season matchup between the clubs this season because of a changing conference landscape.

"I feel bad for the future players who won't get to experience this twice every year, but to be honest with you, if we're only going to play once, I'll take this," Phenow said with a grin. "It's a battle that is really going to be missed. My freshman year we opened up with St. Scholastica at our rink, so I learned pretty dang quick what this game means. It's a special matchup."

St. Scholastica (5-1-2) didn't get many opportunities in the first period, but they took advantage of them, going into the first intermission leading 2-1.

The second period was almost all UWS (3-4), with Jeff Forythe finding teammate Pat Dalbec sneaking behind the Saints' defense for a breakaway. Dalbec made it count, deking left with a stick fake and then beating Rundell with shot to the top-right corner of the net to knot it 2-2 at 5:25 in the second. The Yellowjackets would take their first lead at 12:52 in the period when Phenow got just enough on a backhander to sneak a low shot through Colin Rundell's leg.

"We had a little bit of a cold streak to start the season, but a game like that can turn it right around," Phenow said.

That's how it would stay as Drew Strandberg had eight of his 16 saves in the third period to keep St. Scholastica at bay.

This one went the way many of the fans expected: hard fought and down to the wire.

"I don't know if these games are always fun, but they're good games," UWS coach Dan Stauber said with a laugh. "I hope we continue to play them. You can see how much fun they are. It's great for local hockey. This is what it's all about. It'd be stupid for us not to play them."

St. Scholastica coach Mark Wick wasn't so sure, saying the teams definitely wouldn't play each other next season. St. Scholastica remains a member of the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association while UWS is in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference's newly formed hockey league.

One thing that is certain is small-college hockey in the Northland would never be the same without it.

"It's small, but it's big," Phenow said of the rivalry. "You've got bragging rights in the Twin Ports. The bridge battle is always the one you look for and circle on the calendar. You don't need anything to get yourself up for this one, so to score a goal makes it even more special for me. That will be the last time I ever play the Saints, and that's something that will stick with me for the rest of my life."

* As part of Military Appreciation Night, the Saints wore specially designed jerseys which will be auctioned off. They also featured Sgt. Kevin Beichler, a retired 23-year veteran who will graduate from St. Scholastica this spring with a management major and marketing minor.

Wisconsin-Superior 1-2-0--3

St. Scholastica 2-0-0--2

First period - 1. CSS, Josh Hansen (Brandon Nowakowski), 12:05; 2. UWS, Tanner Dion (Brad Phenow, Jeff Forsythe), 12:31; 3. CSS, Keegan Bruce (Derek Hills, Chad Golanowski), 12:43.

Second period - 4. UWS, Pat Dalbec (Phenow, Forsythe), 5:25; 5. UWS, Phenow (Nick Stoskopf), Tanner Dion), 12:52.

Third period - No scoring.

Saves - Drew Strandberg, UWS, 16; Colin Rundell, CSS, 25.