Men’s & Women’s Hockey Sweep Finlandia on Weekend

Dylan Zimmerman
dzimmerman@css.edu

The College of St. Scholastica men’s and women’s hockey teams traveled outside the state this past weekend, with both teams taking on the Finlandia University Lions. For the women, it was back to back nights of action against the Lions in Michigan on Friday and Saturday. The men, on the other hand, were looking to bounce back from a 4-1 loss to No. 3 St. Norbert the night before with a matchup against Finlandia on Saturday.

The women’s team came into the doubleheader against Finlandia riding a four-game winning streak, sweeping Aurora University the weekend before in dominating fashion. The Saints picked up right where they left off the previous weekend, taking care of business in Michigan with victories of 6-1 and 5-2 over the Lions.

Amanda Broman kicked off the scoring for CSS on Friday night, netting the first goal of the game just under four minutes into the first period. Kaleigh Hamann would be the next Saint to score, extending the CSS lead to 2-0. Finlandia would strike back after Hamann’s goal, putting the score at 2-1 heading into the first intermission.

Once again the Saints scored before four minutes had expired in the second period. This time it was Tessa Lowry sounding the buzzer, as she made it 3-1 in favor of the blue and gold. 13 minutes later Hamann struck again for her second goal on the evening to make it 4-1. The Saints scored twice more in the third period thanks to Taylor Thompson and Abby Sawyer to win round one against the Lions 6-1.

The next day the Saints kept up the pressure, netting two goals in the first period once again. This time it was Greta Nundahl scoring first for CSS. Thompson recorded her second goal in as many games a few minutes later to make it 2-0. Sawyer extended the CSS lead to 3-0 for a brief moment in the second period, followed by a Finlandia goal to make the score 3-1 heading into the second intermission. The Saints didn’t let down in the final period, as Alexia Klaas and Amanda Broman put two more points on the board en route to a 5-2 victory.

The two wins over Finlandia have put the women at six-consecutive victories over the past few weeks. The success has been consistent, but there isn’t any hidden secret behind the streak.

“We have good focus during our practices and games,” said Nundahl. “We always stay positive on the bench and in the locker [room] to keep up the positive energy. We work hard for each other, and that has been paying off.”

It isn’t just Nundahl, however, that is invested in hard work and developing team trust.

“This last stretch we have been working really hard on good habits, maintaining discipline, and buying into our system,” said Lowry. “When we stick to these three goals we are a strong team all around. Going into this weekend we had confidence in our system, which helped us come out on top.”

When discussing if there could be one highlight play that stood out from the rest this past weekend, Nundahl was quite focused on “teammate mentality”.

“Scoring 11 goals total this weekend,” said Nundahl.

The men’s team didn’t have it as easy against the Lions, having to use overtime to scrape out the 3-2 victory. The Saints opened up the scoring five minutes into the first period when Mark Whiteley put one past the goalie to give CSS the 1-0 lead. However it was Finlandia who had all the momentum at the end of the first period, as they scored two goals of their own to hold a slim 2-1 lead. The second period was quiet, with neither team scoring. Kristofer McKinzie scored the equalizer in the third period, giving the Saints some life as they forced an extra period. Nate Pionk became the hero on the night, scoring the overtime goal and giving the Saints a much needed 3-2 win over the Lions. The win came at a great time for CSS, who had to find some momentum after a loss the previous night.

“Our mindset was that the Finlandia game was a must win and had to be played as if it were a playoff type of game,” said Pionk. “It’s always tough losing on Friday and having to bounce back Saturday, and that’s why it’s crucial to have short-term memory.”

Pionk certainly helped the team in overcoming the Friday night loss, scoring the game winner off a loose rebound.

“My job on that last shift was pretty simple,” said Poink. “I was just trying to take the goalie’s eyes away from seeing shots come through and find any rebound that popped out. Luckily, the goalie kicked one off his pad and I found a way to put it past him.”

The CSS men’s hockey team will now host Marian University this weekend in a doubleheader fashion at the Mars Lakeview Arena. The women’s hockey team will also play host at Mars Lakeview Arena in doubleheader fashion, however they will be taking on Trine University starting at 4:00 p.m. on Friday.