Men’s Hockey Cuts it Close Against Aurora

Sam Hvidsten
shvidsten@css.edu

The College of St. Scholastica men’s hockey team traveled all the way down to Chicago this past weekend to face Aurora University. Despite a strong start, the Saints left the arena on Friday with a 3-1 loss. The next day, they redeemed themselves with a 4-3 win.

The Saints scored their first, and only, goal of the game in the middle of the first period. Senior Josh Hansen was assisted by freshman Brett Radford and junior Mark Whiteley in a power play. The second period was not as successful for the Saints. Spartan’s Rihards Marenis scored two goals in the second period; one within half a minute of the start of the period and another eight minutes before the end. That was not the end of the Spartan’s scoring streak. Aurora’s Danny Zielecki scored the third and final goal of the game three minutes later. The third period did not result in any points, but the Saints had 22 shots on goal and four power plays.

On Saturday, the Saints entered the arena ready to battle for a redeeming victory. After a 3-1 loss, St. Scholastica was ready to leave Chicago with a W on their card. Aurora took an early lead when Marenis scored a shorthanded goal during a Saint’s power play thanks to a two-minute penalty for slashing. The Spartan lead did not last long. After some intense back and forth play, sophomore Kris McKinzie and senior Brandon Parrone assisted senior Josh Hansen. This was the Saint’s first goal of the game, which also tied up the game with a score of 1-1. The rest of the first period contained very physical play. With seven minutes left in the period, Aurora received a minor penalty, starting a power play for the Saints. It only lasted 14 seconds before St. Scholastica received a penalty of their own. Towards the end of the 4-4 fight, the Saints got another penalty, giving the Spartan’s an advantage on the ice. The Spartans used the 4-3 advantage to score their second goal of the game. Despite one last power play and many shots on goal, the Saints could not even out the score for the first period, ending with a 2-1 lead for the Spartans.

The close and intense play continued in the second period. Despite the many power plays that occurred in the beginning of the period, neither team was able to score until there was seven minutes left in the period. Hansen scored his second goal of the game, assisted by senior Brandon Millin and junior Mark Whiteley. About three minutes later, the Saints found the back of the net again in yet another power play. Freshman Brett Radford, assisted my McKinzie and Millin, brought the Saints back on top, ending the second period with a 3-2 lead. The third period did not fail to keep fans on the edge of their seats. Six and a half minutes in, the Spartans used a power play to tie the score at 3-3. Half way through the third period, the Saints gained back their lead with a goal by Senior Derek Sutliffe, assisted by junior Kale Derkson. Though the action did not end, no more goals were made, ending the game at 4-3 for the Saints. Saturday’s game brought a lot of action for the goalies. Senior Peter Megariotis saved 36 of the 39 shots on goal, which is the most shots he has saved and faced in a single game so far this season.

“Our team’s success were the power plays,” sophomore Kris McKinzie said. “We had a very good weekend on the power play and that helped propel us to the victory on Saturday.”

Hopefully, the Saints will bring those power plays home this weekend. The last home game series will be this weekend where they will host Concordia University at the Mars Lakeview Arena.