BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - As the 2018-19 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) women's hockey regular season closes in on its finale next weekend, three playoff spots remain up for grabs.
St. Thomas and Hamline have already secured playoff berths with two series left to play. A win or tie in the final two weeks would send Augsburg back to the tournament, while Gustavus will have an opportunity to punch its ticket to the playoffs as early as this weekend, though the Gusties would need to do so against a Concordia team also battling for a postseason berth. The Cobbers currently hold a 15-12 advantage over Saint Mary's for the fifth and final spot in the 2019 MIAC Playoffs.
Perhaps the most competitive women's hockey league in the nation, four MIAC teams have found themselves ranked among Division III's top-10 at different points this season. In USCHO.com's latest poll, unbeaten St. Thomas grades out at No. 1 - a ranking that certainly appears justified following the team's road win over No. 4-ranked Wis.-River Falls on Wednesday. The Tommies are currently enjoying an NCAA-leading 34-game unbeaten streak (27-0-7) and have not lost in a staggering 14 months. Not far behind, 17-1-3 Hamline is standing pat at No. 5 in the USCHO.com Poll, with the Pipers' only loss of the season coming in overtime against then-ranked Gustavus back in November. The Gusties - no slouches themselves - received five votes in the latest balloting. The same three squads also appear in the most recent D3hockey.com Poll, with the Tommies at No. 3, Pipers at No. 6, and Gusties collecting five more votes to finish just outside the top 10. In the PairWise rankings, St. Thomas leads the country, with Hamline at No. 7, Gustavus at No. 11, and Augsburg at No. 17.
Hamline has 26 power-play goals, the second-most in all of college hockey, and a power-play percentage of 0.295, third-best in Division III. The Pipers rank fifth in D-III with a scoring average of 4.48 and a scoring margin of 3.00.
Hamline forward Bre Simon (Elk River, Minn.) leads all of women's college hockey with 2.24 points per game and ranks first in D-III with 1.24 assists per game this season.
Hamline forward Leah Schwartzman (Hopkins, Minn. | Breck) is tied for fourth in Division III with an average of 1.60 points per game and ranks third in the Division with 1.05 assists per game. St. Thomas forward Maddy Fiedler (Chanhassen, Minn.) is tied for fourth at 0.95 assists per game.
Hamline defender Dani Wright (Farmington, Minn.) was named to D3hockey.com's Team of the Week on Thursday, becoming the MIAC's 12th national honoree this season. The junior had two goals - including a game-winner - and three assists in two Piper victories over Concordia last weekend.
St. Thomas has the best winning percentage in all of collegiate hockey at 0.952 this season. The Tommies have not lost in 34 straight games dating back to December 2017. Hamline is tied for the third-best winning percentage in Division III at 0.881.
The Tommies have 10 shutouts this season, tied for the most in all of women's collegiate hockey. Mackenzie Torpy (Oregon, Wis.) has been between the pipes for all 10, which is also tied for the most in women's hockey this season. Torpy is third in D-III with a 0.791 goals against average and a 0.957 save percentage.
AROUND THE MIAC
Seventeen of Augsburg's 22 skaters who have seen game action this season have scored goals, with 18 different Auggies recording either a goal or an assist. Defender Nikki Nightengale (Bloomington, Minn. | Jefferson) leads the team with 10 goals this season and collected a point in both matchups with Saint Ben's last weekend.
Bethel forward Bri Stafne (Duluth, Minn. | Hermantown) has tallied a point in every series in 2019. She logged her seventh goal of the year in a 2-2 tie with Saint Mary's last weekend.
First-year forward Brenna Mjoness (Moorhead, Minn.) tallied her second goal of the season in a 2-1 loss to Hamline last weekend. Mjoness also has a pair of assists on the year.
Gustavus has settled for a tie each of the last four Saturdays after battling St. Kate's to a 2-2 draw last weekend. First-year Madigan Goldsworthy (Chaska, Minn.) scored goals in both games of the series with the Wildcats.
Hamline extended its unbeaten streak to a program-record 15 games last Saturday with a 2-1 win over Concordia. Junior defender Dani Wright (Farmington, Minn.) recorded her 18th point of the season in the game, the most by any MIAC blueliner this year.
Saint Benedict goalie Kailee Medved (Littleton, Colo. | Totino-Grace) made 40 saves and played all 65 minutes on Saturday to help CSB pick up a key MIAC tie against Augsburg. The sophomore goalie allowed a single goal and made double-digit saves in all three periods for CSB. It was the second time this season Medved reached the 40-save mark.
St. Catherine's Brede Postier (Byron, Minn. | Dodge County) and Laken Muller (Inver Grove Heights, Minn. | Simley) each scored a goal in the Wildcats' 2-2 tie with Gustavus last weekend. The senior tandem is tied for the team lead with eight goals apiece this season.
Saint Mary's sophomore Kourtney Jancze (Stillwater, Minn.) scored her first collegiate goal - the game-winner - in the Cardinals' 2-1 win over Bethel last Saturday. Jancze became the sixth player to score her first goal as a Cardinal this season.
St. Olaf defender Kalli McCullen (Bloomington, Minn. | Kennedy) scored her third goal of the season in a 4-1 loss to St. Thomas on Saturday. Her goal at 1:54 of the opening period gave the Oles a lead they would hold onto until midway through the second period. McCullen's tally was just the 13th goal conceded by the Tommies in 20 games this season.
St. Thomas junior Rachel Werdin (Eden Prairie, Minn.) recorded a hat trick while sophomore Maddy Fiedler (Chanhassen, Minn.) assisted on four of the Tommies' five goals in a 5-4 victory at No. 4 Wis.-River Falls on Wednesday.
|2018-19 MIAC Statistical Leaders|
|Goals||Bre Simon, Hamline||21||Molly Garin, Hamline
Bre Simon, Hamline
|Assists||Bre Simon, Hamline||26||Bre Simon, Hamline||20|
|Points||Bre Simon, Hamline||47||Bre Simon, Hamline||31|
|Save %||Kenzie Torpy, St. Thomas||0.965||Kenzie Torpy, St. Thomas||0.977|
|GAA||Kenzie Torpy, St. Thomas||0.62||Kenzie Torpy, St. Thomas||0.49|