The University of Wisconsin-Superior men’s and women’s hockey teams went a combined 3-1 in non-conference action over the weekend.
The Yellowjacket men defeated St. John’s 6-2 and Concordia-Moorhead 4-1 on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 10-11, at Wessman Arena, while the UWS women went on the road and defeated fourth-ranked Gustavus Adolphus 2-1 Friday in St. Peter, Minnesota, but then lost 3-1 to Augsburg Saturday in Minneapolis.
Good things are happening around Wessman Arena for the Yellowjackets.
Not only did they improve to 12-2-1 overall, but they are 7-1-1 at home, 6-0-1 in their last seven games, and 7-0-1 in non-conference action.
The seven home wins are the most at Wessman Arena since 2012, and the 12 wins are the most for the Yellowjackets since finishing 16-13-1 in 2010-11.
“I don’t know what it is, but we’re taking care of business at home,” UWS coach Rick McKenna said. “Wessman’s a beautiful place to play at and we’re feeling it right now.”
Despite all of the recent success, McKenna switched things around a bit last weekend, including putting together a line that included sophomore Chad Lopez and freshman Dylan Johnson and Conor MacLean.
The move paid off for the trio as they combined for a nine-point weekend.
Benefitting the most was MacLean, a native of Wilcox, Saskatchewan, who scored his first three collegiate goals along with an assist. Lopez finished four assists and Johnson had one.
“They make it easy, just go to the net hard and pucks end up on your stick,” MacLean said. “They’re fast guys, quick and move pucks well. There’s some chemistry there. I had a lot of fun.”
UWS also got two goals from Pavel Mikhasenok, one from Artur Terchiyev and 20 saves from Myles Hektor in Saturday’s win.
Concordia took the first two shots, but after that it was all UWS, which finished with a 19-5 shot advantage in the opening period.
Mikhasenok gave UWS a 1-0 lead at the 3:55 mark when he scored off a centering pass from Bruno Burzitis.
The lead grew to 2-0 when MacLean scored on a breakaway just 1:41 later.
“There was a D-zone faceoff and the puck went to the point,” MacLean said. “Their defenseman had his head buried and luckily enough his shot hit me in the shin pad and it was off to the races.”
UWS doubled its lead early in the second period.
MacLean took a centering pass from Lopez and scored on a one-timer from just outside the slot at 1:26.
“Our line was cycling the puck really well,” MacLean said. “Johnson had the puck down low and fed Chad, who found me through a bunch of sticks. I don’t know how he did it, but he found me. There you go, lucky again.”
It went to 4-0 less than two minutes later when Terchiyev scored with assists from Troy York and Lopez.
UWS then ran into penalty trouble with five second-period penalties.
The Cobbers failed to score during a 5-on-3 power play, but cashed in before the second penalty expired when Aaron Herdt whipped a wrister past Hektor from the right circle.
“This year, at certain points of the game, it seems our brains kind of turn off for a second and we’ll take some unnecessary penalties,” McKenna said. “We can be controlling things, but when you give the opponent too many power play chances, it gives them energy.
“We’ve been lucky so far, but we have to be smarter and not take foolish penalties.”
Concordia went on another power play with 2:30 remaining and at the same time pulled its goalie for a 6-on-4 advantage.
UWS killed off the penalty and MacLean nearly had a chance to complete his hat trick when he got behind the defense, but a long pass was just out of his reach.
As MacLean was heading to the bench, he got the puck again, fed it back up ice to Alex MacKenzie, who in turn fed Mikhasenok, who scored into the empty net with 20.2 seconds remaining.
Jacob Stephan had 35 saves for the Cobbers (4-7-1).
UWS also got off to a quick start Friday with four first-period goals, including the first three within a span of 2:54.
Jordan Martin started the scoring spree at 8:34, Liam Blais scored at 9:57, and MacLean followed with his first collegiate goal at 11:28.
“We’ve had a number of good starts,” McKenna said. “Scoring the first goal gives us the belief that if we get one, we feel like we’re going to get two.”
Birzitis finished the scoring in the first period with a power-play goal with 55 seconds remaining. Lawson McDonald and Lopez assisted on the power-play goal that came on a one-timer from the right circle.
St. John’s cut the lead in half on power-play goals by Ryan Kero and Adam Orn in the opening 3:31 of the second period, but Superior got those goals back with Troy York’s power-play goal at 14:48 and Will Blake’s goal at 16:23.
Oscar Svensson finished with 27 saves for UWS. Andrew Lindgren and Mac Berglove combined to make 41 saves for St. John’s (3-6-4).
The Yellowjackets travel to Gustavus for a 7 p.m. game on Saturday, Jan. 18, in St. Peter, Minnesota.
‘JACKET JOTTINGS: UWS has 10 games remaining in the regular season, including three at home.
First period — 1. UWS, Pavel Mikhasenok (Bruno Birzitis), 3:55. 2. UWS, Conor MacLean, 5:37.
Second period — 3. UWS, MacLean (Chad Lopez), 1:26. 4. UWS, Artur Terchiyev (Troy York, Lopez), 3:14 (4-on-4). 5. CM, Aaron Herdt (Tanner Okeson) 5:18 (pp).
Third period — 6. UWS, Mikhasenok (Alex MacKenzie, MacLean), 19:40 (en).
Saves — Jacob Stephan, CM, 17-7-11— 35. Myles Hektor, UWS, 5-11-11--27. A—317.
First period — 1. UWS, Jordan Martin (Lawson McDonald), 8:34. 2. UWS, Liam Blais (Troy York, Coltyn Bates), 9:57. 3. UWS, Conor MacLean 1 (Chad Lopez, 4 Sam Sterne), 11:28. 4. UWS, Bruno Birzitis (Lawson McDonald, Lopez), 19:05 (pp).
Second period -- 5. SJU, Ryan Kero (Jack Johnson, Adam Orn), 1:07 (pp). 6. Orn (Kero, Peter Tabor), 3:31 (pp). 7. UWS, York (Artur Terchiyev), 14:48 (pp). 8. UWS, Will Blake (Sterne, Pavel Mikhasenok), 16:23.
Third period — No scoring.
Saves — Andrew Lindgren, SJU, 14-0-x—14. Mac Berglove, SJU, x-11-16—27. Oscar Svensson, UWS, 7-12-8--27.
The Yellowjackets’ six-game winning streak came to an end with their loss to Augsburg on Saturday in Minneapolis.
UWS’ lone goal came when Jenna Curtis set up Megan Dulong for a power-play goal at 13:20 of the second period.
The disappointing loss came a day after defeating the fourth-ranked Gusties.
After a scoreless first period on Friday that saw UWS whistled for six penalties, the Gusties took a 1-0 lead on Kayla Vrieze’s goal 33 seconds into the second period.
UWS tied it up on Kaleigh Martinson’s goal six minutes after that and then scored the game-winner on Amanda Sergent’s power-play goal at 14:42.
The Gusties outshot the Yellowjackets 15-1 in a scoreless third period.
Catherine Johnson stopped 32 shots for UWS. Emilia Helms-Leslie had nine saves for the Gusties (9-2-1).
The Yellowjackets (8-2-1) host Bethell at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 14.
‘JACKET JOTTINGS: Friday’s game was the first for UWS since a 5-4 win over St. Catherine on Dec. 14, 2019.
First period — No scoring.
Second period — 1. GA, Kayla Vrieze (Kristen Cash, Kristian Press), 0:33. 2. UWS, Kaleigh Martinson (Amanda Sergent), 6:38. 3. UWS, Sergent (Jenna Byfuglien, Molly Shelton), 14:42 (pp).
Third period — No scoring.
Saves — Catherine Johnson, UWS, 7-10-15—32. Emilia Helms-Leslie, GA, 4-4-1— 9.
First period — 1. AC, Mikayla Jones (Ellie Tabaka), 7:50. 2. AC, Bridget Wagner, 11:31. (sh).
Second period — 3. UWS, Megan Dulong (Jenna Curtis), 13:20 (pp). 4. AC, Jones (Jeanette Bealke, Tababka), 18:52.
Third period — 5. AC, Katie Flynn (Hollywood Hermanson), 12:58.
Saves — Catherine Johnson, UWS, 12-5-7--24. Abby Bollig, AC, 5-10-2--17.