BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) got its first taste of the league's new overtime format in men's hockey in the first official conference action of the year last weekend, as Saint Mary's and St. Thomas went to the 3-on-3 period and Gustavus and St. Olaf settled things in a shootout. The excitement will continue this weekend, as four league games and 10 non-conference contests are set to get underway.
Augsburg and St. Thomas are ranked Nos. 14 and 15 in the nation, respectively, in the latest USCHO.com Top 15 Poll, while both programs received votes in the most recent D3hockey.com balloting.
Augsburg forward Alex Rodriguez (Miami, Fla. | Shattuck-St. Mary's) and Concordia forward Mario Bianchi (Bloomington, Minn. | Holy Angels) are each averaging 1.75 goals per game in 2018, tied for the second-most in all of Division III. Bianchi has three game-winning goals already this season, the most in D-III.
AROUND THE MIAC
Augsburg forward Alex Rodriguez (Miami, Fla. | Shattuck-St. Mary's) has recorded a point in all four of the Auggies games this season, with goals (7) in three of those contests.
Freshman forward Josiah Roen (Hugo, Minn. | Concordia Academy) leads Bethel with two goals and a pair of assists in four contests this season.
Concordia sophomore forward Tyler Bossert (Moorhead, Minn. | Fargo Shanley) had a six-point weekend in the Cobbers' split against a pair of Wisconsin teams. Bossert's biggest contribution came on Saturday when he had a goal and three assists, including the assist on the game-winning goal, in Concordia's 5-2 win over Wis.-Superior. Bossert also had a pair of assists on Friday and leads all MIAC scorers with nine assists on the season.
Gustavus forward Caleb Anderson (Sioux Falls, S.D. | Lincoln) scored a goal and assisted on the other two in the Gusties' 3-3 tie with St. Olaf on Friday.
Hamline freshman Brendan Sheehan (Somerset, Wis.) got his first collegiate goal on a power-play wraparound 1:55 into the second period of the Pipers' loss to Wis.-Stevens Point on Friday.
Saint John's forward Brady Heppner (Crookston, Minn.) scored his team-leading third goal of the season in the Johnnies' 4-3 victory over Wis.-Stout on Saturday.
The three goals scored by Saint Mary's in its 3-3 MIAC-opening tie against St. Thomas last Friday were all scored by freshmen - Tyson Liverance (Burford, Ontario) scored twice and Jack Hatton (Naperville, Ill.) netted the other. Liverance and Hatton each scored again the following night in the Cardinals' rematch against the Tommies.
St. Olaf goalie Noah Parker (Northfield, Minn. | St. Paul Academy) went 1-0-1 with a 1.87 goals-against average and .956 save percentage for St. Olaf, which took five points out of a possible six, against Gustavus this past weekend. Parker made a career-high 44 saves, including stops on all three Gustie attempts in the shootout, as the Oles claimed an extra point after a 3-3 tie on Friday night. He went on to stop 42 of the 43 shots he faced as St. Olaf rallied for a 2-1 victory with two third-period goals the following night.
St. Thomas forward Brett Gravelle (Forest Lake, Minn.) had a four-goal weekend in addition to a game-ending 3x3 shootout score to lead the No. 15-ranked Tommies in their series with Saint Mary's. Gravelle scored a goal and assisted on another in Friday's 3-3 tie before adding the 3x3 shootout-session score to secure an extra point in the MIAC standings for UST. On Saturday, his first collegiate hat track included two goals in the final 3:08. His second goal of the night tied the game at 3-3 and his empty-net score iced the victory.