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ISSUE 120 VOL 10 PUBLISHED 12/6/2006

Decision with Auggies unlikely

By Matthew Stortz
Staff Writer

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

The St. Olaf men’'s hockey team tied Augsburg twice in a home-and-home series last Friday and Saturday. Saturday'’s match marks the eighth-consecutive tie between the teams.

The Friday night game, played in Northfield, opened well for the Oles, who jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Nick Stalock ’'09 scored on an assist from Casey Dynan '’09. The Oles held the Auggies to just three shots on net, all of which goalie Jeff Wilde ’'07 stopped with ease to give the Oles a 1-0 advantage at the first intermission.

That lead would not be held for long, however. Augsburg scored early in the second period to even the score, and added another goal on a late-period power play to gain a 2-1 lead. The Auggies would not sustain that lead to intermission, however, as Ben Umhoefer ’'10 struck back for the Oles with an unassisted goal 2:50 in the second period, tying the game 2-2.

The third period opened as grimly for the Oles as the second, when Augsburg scored another power play goal to go up 3-2. But St. Olaf’'s Jeff Budish ’'08 scored an unassisted shorthanded goal just two minutes later to even the score at three. The game continued in see-saw fashion, with Augsburg scoring again to take a 4-3 lead, and the Oles responding with a goal from John Paulson '’08, assisted by Budish, to make the score 4-4. The score remained tied for the remainder of regulation, and neither team would score in overtime.

The Oles jumped out to an early two-goal lead in Saturday night'’s game in Minneapolis thanks to an unassisted power play goal by Paulson and an even strength score by Brett Kistner ’'08, assisted by Sam Windsor ’'09.

St. Olaf could not maintain that advantage, however, allowing Augsburg to score two power play goals in the second period to even the score. The Oles walked away with their second tie in as many days after scoreless third period and overtime session.

With a MIAC record of 1-1-2, the Oles are currently tied for third in the conference with Bethel and St. John's. Atop the MIAC are Augsburg and Gustavus, two non-traditional conference leaders who appear to be particularly strong this season. Whether or not the Gusties and Auggies can last for the entire season remains to be seen, but it appears that competition for MIAC playoff spots will be stiff.

The Oles will have the opportunity to make progress in their playoff quest this weekend when they play a home-and-home series against rival St. John's. The Oles and Johnnies are currently tied in MIAC rankings, and the two teams have a tradition of battling for MIAC supremacy. Last season the Oles won three games against the Johnnies, including a victory in the MIAC semifinals. In 2005, however, the Johnnies knocked the Oles out of playoff contention in semifinal play. In light of history and current MIAC circumstances, the Ole-Johnny rivalry will be particularly fierce this weekend.

The Oles faceoff against the Johnnies at 2 p.m. at home on Saturday, Dec. 9 and at 2 p.m. in St. Cloud on Sunday, Dec. 10.

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