BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - Just more than a month remains in the 2018-19 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) women's hockey regular season. With eight league games played apiece, five teams - St. Thomas, Hamline, Concordia, Gustavus, and Augsburg - have maintained conference winning percentages of 0.563 or better. Ten MIAC games are slated to be played on Friday and Saturday of this week, including a two-game series featuring the nation's No. 9-ranked team, Gustavus Adolphus College, squaring off with Augsburg, a team regularly receiving votes in the top-10 balloting this season.
HOCKEY DAY MINNESOTA
There is perhaps no stronger Division III conference for hockey in the nation this season than the MIAC. Three MIAC teams - St. Thomas, Hamline, and Gustavus - have maintained top-10 rankings in both national polls all season long, with a fourth - Augsburg - receiving votes on four separate occasions, including the most recent USCHO.com balloting. On the heels of a 5-1 December, Concordia also continues to inch closer to the national spotlight and will close out the season with four straight series against the Tommies, Pipers, Gusties, and Auggies, making for plenty of must-see MIAC action. In addition to team success, there has been no shortage of individual accolades this season either. Eight different MIAC student-athletes from five different schools have been named to D3hockey.com's Teams of the Week since the start of November, while Hamline coach and Minnesota hockey icon Natalie Darwitz was formally inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in December. As the North Star State prepares to celebrate its 13th annual Hockey Day Minnesota series in Bemidji this weekend, the MIAC continues to showcase why Minnesota is without question the "State of Hockey".
Four MIAC teams are receiving attention in national polls this week. Unbeaten St. Thomas is ranked No. 3 in both the D3hockey.com Top 10 and USCHO.com Top 10. The Tommies received two first-place votes in the D3hockey balloting and six first-place votes in the USCHO Poll. Hamline is ranked No. 7 in the D3hockey.com Poll and No. 8 in the USCHO.com Poll, while Gustavus is No. 9 in both. Augsburg received votes in the USCHO.com balloting.
Hamline has a power-play percentage of 0.305 this season, the second-best clip in all of collegiate hockey.
Hamline forward Bre Simon (Elk River, Minn.) leads all of women's college hockey with 2.20 points per game and 1.27 assists per game this season.
St. Thomas has the best winning percentage in all of collegiate hockey at 0.964 this season. The Tommies have not lost in 27 straight games dating back to December 2017. Hamline is tied for the third-best winning percentage in Division III at 0.867.
The Tommies have seven shutouts this season, tied for second-most in Division III and third-most in all of collegiate hockey.
St. Thomas goalie Mackenzie Torpy (Oregon, Wis.) ranks second in all of collegiate hockey in a trio of statistical categories with seven shutouts, a goals-against average of 0.589 and a save percentage of 0.970 this season.
AROUND THE MIAC
Augsburg defender Nikki Nightengale (Bloomington, Minn. | Jefferson) has scored twice in the last three games with both goals coming against nationally-ranked opponents in Hamline and Wis.-Eau Claire. She has eight goals on the season, the most by a MIAC defender this year.
Bethel forward Kaylyn Forliti (North Branch, Minn.) recorded her first-career hat trick in a 5-3 win over Saint Benedict last Friday. The first-year forward scored the first goal of the game and the last two to keep CSB comeback attempts at bay. Forliti's hat trick gave her a team-high six goals and nine points on the season.
Concordia goalie Emily Musielewicz (Richmond, Minn. | St. Cloud Tech) earned her first start in goal in 2019 last Saturday. The first-year goaltender kicked aside a career-high 31 shots in the game.
Gustavus jumped out to a 2-0 lead against No. 3-ranked St. Thomas last Saturday before settling for a 2-2 tie - the Tommies' first non-victory of the season. First-year Grace Schulte (Little Falls, Minn.) got the scoring started less than 30 seconds into the contest with her second goal of the year.
Hamline forward Leah Schwartzman (Hopkins, Minn. | Breck) has scored in every game in 2019, finding the back of the net six times in five games, including a trio of goals in a key series with Augsburg last weekend.
Saint Benedict defender Kylie Eklund (Chaska, Minn. | Chanhassen) scored her first two goals of the season in a loss to Bethel last Friday. It was the second two-goal game of her career and brings her four-year total to seven goals.
St. Catherine's Brede Postier (Byron, Minn. | Dodge County) tallied five points in a weekend series with St. Olaf to help the Wildcats record their first MIAC win and tie of the season. The senior forward netted all four of the Wildcats' regulation goals and provided the first assist on the team's game-winner versus the Oles in overtime on Saturday. She now leads St. Kate's with seven goals on the season.
Saint Mary's forward Courtney Moser (Blaine, Minn.) scored the game-winning goal two minutes into overtime in the Cardinals' 2-1 win over Concordia last Saturday. Moser became the fifth different player to net a game-winner for the Cardinals this season.
St. Olaf forward Jackie LaFaive (Harbor Springs, Mich.) scored four goals in three games last week for St. Olaf - the first four of her collegiate career. The first-year forward scored her first two collegiate goals last Tuesday in a 7-4 defeat at No. 10 Wis.-Eau Claire and added goals in both games of the Oles' series against St. Catherine last weekend.
St. Thomas scored two third period goals to secure a 2-2 tie at Gustavus last Saturday, extending the Tommies' unbeaten streak to 27 games. Junior forward Allison Parnell (Shoreview, Minn. | Totino-Grace) recorded the game-tying goal, her second score of 2019 and third in the last four games.
|2018-19 MIAC Statistical Leaders|
|Goals||Bre Simon, Hamline||14||Multiple||5|
|Assists||Bre Simon, Hamline||19||Bre Simon, Hamline||13|
|Points||Bre Simon, Hamline||33||Bre Simon, Hamline||17|
|Save %||Kenzie Torpy, St. Thomas||0.970||Kenzie Torpy, St. Thomas||0.977|
|GAA||Kenzie Torpy, St. Thomas||0.59||Kenzie Torpy, St. Thomas||0.49|