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ISSUE 118 VOL 8 PUBLISHED 11/12/2004

Splitting hairs: Men skate to tie, cap weekend with win

By Joel Stjernholm
Sports Editor

Friday, November 12, 2004

The St. Olaf mens hockey team couldnt have picked a much tougher opponent for their season opener than the University of Wisconsin-Superior. Superior opened the 2004-2005 season ranked 10th in a prominent national poll, and is widely considered a dominant Midwest hockey force.

However, the Oles met their opponents undaunted Friday night, coming back from a two-goal deficit to earn a 3-3 overtime tie.

St. Olaf quickly found themselves in a 2-0 hole when Superior scored two goals in the games first period. The Oles cut that lead in half when Kyle Hilmershausen 07 netted a second period goal.

Superior added another score with 16:44 left in the game to regain their two goal advantage, but St. Olaf forward Ted Bickel 06 netted a pair of goals in the remainder of the third period to force overtime. Bickel was assisted on both goals by John Paulson 08. Keith Townsend 05 and Will Wetterlin 06 both earned assists as well.

St. Olafs tie with Superior provided the Oles with some significant momentum, which they carried into Saturdays afternoon match with St. Scholastica. The Oles thoroughly dominated the Saints 6-0 in an impressive display of offensive prowess and defensive stinginess.

Hilmershausen, Mitch Mudra 07, John Egge 07, Bickel, Jeff Budish 08 and Josh Biser 06 all scored for St. Olaf. Townsend, Wetterlin, Mudra, Andy Heyne 05, David Short 05 and Brett Kistner 08 each earned an assist, while Patrick Gilles 05 assisted on two goals. Hilmershausen added one assist to go along with his second goal of the season.

By scoring nine goals in two games, the St. Olaf offense has positioned itself as one of the most potent in the MIAC.

We were just really excited to get out there and get rolling offensively, Short said. Everybody played well, but was great to have first years scoring too. Jeff Budish put in a solid game.

The Oles were also pleased with their defensive efforts; they allowed only three goals to the powerful Superior offense and blanked St. Scholastica.

St. Olaf enters this season coming off of its first playoff appearance in 13 years. Under the direction of head coach Sean Goldsworthy, a 1994 St. Olaf graduate, the team has improved tremendously and looks to be a fearsome MIAC contender this season. The Oles weekend performance earned them a number 17 ranking in a Division III coaches poll.

Despite their national rank, the Oles remain focused on playing fundamentally solid hockey, taking each opponent seriously.

Its great to have that national rank, Short said. But were not going to be overconfident. We need to win a few more games before anyone can call us the team to beat.

St. Olaf will play two home games this weekend, one on Friday night against the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire at 8 p.m., and one on Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. against the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

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