In their semifinal match, the Oles played regular season MIAC champion St. Johns, the team which ultimately ended last years post-season push.
Though last seasons playoff run came to an abrupt end with a 5-0 loss to the Johnnies, St. Olaf played well in that game, holding St. Johns scoreless until the third period, when a flurry of goals elevated St. Johns to victory.
This year it was the Oles who drew first blood with junior Mitch Mudras first period goal. Mudras goal was assisted by Andy Ockuly 08 and John Biser 06.
The Johnnies evened the score with a second period power play goal, and after a scoreless third period, the game went to overtime.
Despite the Oles aggressive play, St. Johns scored at the 6:13 mark to end the St. Olafs playoff aspirations.
Three Oles, Keith Townsend 05, Will Wetterlin 06 and Dan Kehler 06 earned All-MIAC honors, with Ted Bickel 06 and Mike MacMillan 08 earning All-MIAC honorable mention awards. John Paulson 08 was named to the MIACs all-rookie team.
These awards reflect not only the talent possessed by the Oles, but also the depth and youth of the roster.
Kehler, a goalie, will be back in net next season for the Oles, and Wetterlin and Bickel will provide a solid defensive and offensive foundation for Ole skaters, as well as providing leadership for new recruits.
If this season is indicative of next, the Oles will maintain high expectations for new players.
While Ole skaters and net-minders certainly deserve tremendous praise, Ole fans would be remiss not to recognize the contributions St. Olaf head coach Sean Goldsworthy, an Ole hockey alum has offered the program. During his tenure, the Oles have risen from MIAC mediocrity to becoming annual contenders, nearly defeating St. Johns in playoff action two consecutive years.
Though the Oles did not complete their post-season run this year, many Oles will return, joined by fresh recruits, to tackle MIAC competition next season.
Energized by the success of the previous two seasons, Ole fans are already discussing MIAC title possibilities for the 2005-06 season.