MILWAUKEE – The MSOE hockey team opened its 2017-18 season this past weekend the same way they opened the two seasons before: beating a nationally-ranked opponent.
The Raiders shut out No. 11 UW-Eau Claire 2-0 on Friday night. In 2014-15, they posted a 5-1 win at home against No. 3 Adrian and followed that up last season on the road against Adrian, 3-2, when the Bulldogs were ranked No. 3/4.
What this season's MSOE squad did then was score three goals in the last eight minutes to take down UW-River Falls 3-1 on Saturday to improve to 2-0 for the first time since 2012-13.
Two games, 120 minutes, and just one goal allowed.
If the defense appears to be in mid-season form, it should not be surprising. All six defensemen that dressed last weekend returned this season, including four upperclassmen. Moreover, behind that veteran defense is senior Zach Woodman, who saved 57-of-58 shots faced over the weekend.
With 31 saves Friday, Woodman shut out the No. 11 team in the nation and posted one of three goalie shutouts in Division III on the weekend. He followed that up with 26 saves Saturday. Of the 18 netminders in Division III to play both team games last weekend, he leads the way in goals against average (0.50) and save percentage (.983).
In addition to keeping opponents off the scoreboard, the defense has been helping the Raider offense get goals on the board. Senior defensemen Chris Hinrichs and Zach Simpson have actually scored the game-winning goals for MSOE. Hinrichs lit the lamp midway through the second period on a power play to open the scoring Friday. Then, Saturday, Simpson sniped a goal of his own to give the team a 2-1 lead it would not relinquish.
The Raiders are getting noticed for their opening weekend performance, cracking the USCHO poll this week at No. 15. They are also receiving votes at D3hockey.com, sitting unofficially 17th in that poll.
The road does not get any easier this season, as six of the NCHA's 12 teams are cropping up ranked or receiving votes in national polls including the No. 1 teams in the USCHO and D3hockey polls. Add to that, there is also a non-conference trip to #3/4 UW-Stevens Point for a Thanksgiving tournament.
With the obstacles ahead, it imperative that MSOE defense has hit the ground running and the Raiders have done just that.
Elsewhere Around MSOE Athletics…
- Women's Soccer clinched the 2017 NACC regular season championship with a 4-0 win at Lakeland. The Raiders are the #1 seed in the NACC Tournament for the second-straight season.
- Men's Soccer clinched the #5 seed in its NACC Tournament with a 13-0 demolition of Lakeland in the regular season finale. The team then defeated #4 Aurora on the road, 2-0, to advance to the semifinals.
- Cross Country competed at the NACC Championships with the Men taking third and the Women sixth. Trey Horbinski was named all-conference for the fourth time and Nick Bath repeated on the All-NACC Team.
- Women's Volleyball closed out the season with a 2-3 record, falling to CUW mid-week and going 2-2 at the Benedictine Eagles Classic.
- Rachel Lynde (WVB) surpassed 1,000 career kills at the Eagle Classic, hitting the milestone against Finlandia Friday night.
Coming Up This Week...
- Women's Soccer (11-8, 9-1 / W1) hosts #6-seed Benedictine Wednesday in the NACC Semifinals. The team defeated BenU 4-1 in the regular season.
- Men's Soccer (11-6, 6-4 NACC / W2) plays at #1 Concordia Wisconsin Tuesday in the NACC Semifinals. A golden goal in overtime for CUW was the difference in a 3-2 game when the teams met in the regular season.
- #15/rv Hockey (2-0, W2) hits the road to open NCHA with a pair of road division crossover games at Finlandia Friday and #1/3 St. Norbert Saturday.
- Rowing closes out the fall portion of its schedule at the Bald Eagle Collegiate Invitational Saturday in Indianapolis.
|Tuesday||Men's Soccer||@ Concordia Wisconsin (NACC Semifinals)||2:00 PM||Video | Live stats|
|Wednesday||Women's Soccer||Benedictine (NACC Semifinals)||7:00 PM||Video | Live stats|
|Friday||Hockey||@ Finlandia*||6:15 PM|
|Saturday||Rowing||@ Bald Eagle Collegiate Invitational||10:15 AM|
|Saturday||Women's Soccer||NACC Championship (if qualified)||1:00 PM|
|Saturday||Men's Soccer||NACC Championship (if qualified)||TBD|
|Saturday||Hockey||@ St. Norbert*||7:00 PM||Video|
|* Conference Contest | Home Contests in BOLD|