St. Olaf jumped out to an early lead against Stout when John Paulson '08 scored a goal just 12 seconds into the game on assists from Sam Windsor '09 and Andy Ockuly '08. UW-Stout responded quickly, however, and tied the game just a minute later with an unassisted shorthanded goal.
UW-Stout frustrated the Ole power play again just minutes later, adding another shorthanded goal midway through the first period to earn a one goal lead. A power play goal in the closing minutes of the first period gave UW-Stout a 3-1 advantage at the first intermission.
Despite a difficult first period, the Ole defense stepped up in the second and third periods, holding UW-Stout scoreless and eliminating the odd-man rushes that had resulted in UW-Stouts shorthanded goals in the first period. Jeff Budish '08 scored for the Oles on an assist from Mitch Mudra '07 during a third period power play, bringing the Oles within one goal of UW-Stout. The Oles could not close the gap, despite having created several scoring opportunities late in the third period, and Stout prevailed 3-2.
St. Olaf goalie Jeff Wilde '07 stopped 28 of UW-Stouts 31 shots for a .903 save percentage.
Saturday nights contest against UW-River Falls also began with quick offense, though it was UW-River Falls who drew first blood, scoring 24 seconds into the first period. Ockuly evened the score for St. Olaf late in the second period on assists from Mudra and Kyle Hilmershausen 07, but the Oles did not find the net again.
Two UW-River Falls power play goals, one with 40 seconds left in the second period and another midway through the third period, made the final score 3-1.
Brycen Emberwein '10 stopped 24 of UW-River Falls 27 shots in his first collegiate start for a .889 save percentage.
Through their first two games the Oles have played exceptionally well in even-strength situations, but the power play and penalty-kill units have not performed. The Oles have scored just one power play goal this season despite having 26 power play attempts, while allowing two short-handed goals and three power play goals. The Oles will undoubtedly improve these units, hopefully in time for their next contests against hockey powerhouses St. Scholastica and UW-Superior.
The Oles have an ambitious early schedule, playing seven nationally ranked teams in their first 10 games. While such a schedule doesnt necessarily help with wins and losses, the tough games are meant to help the Oles develop and improve as a team early in the season. In each of the past three seasons, the Oles have posted mediocre records early on, but have made the playoffs thanks to great team play late in the season and in conference games. If the past three seasons are any indication, the Oles will learn much from their first two games and will be well-prepared for the start of their conference season next weekend.
The Oles play St. Scholastica and UW-Superior in Northfield this Friday and Saturday, respectively. Faceoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday, and for 2 p.m. on Saturday.