Men’s Hockey off to strong start, 2-1-1

St. Olaf men’s hockey looks to extend their strong start into a successful 2018-2019 season.

After playing four games, St. Olaf sits at 2-1-1, following a win Saturday night against visiting Gustavus Adolphus.

This was the second game of a doubleheader against the Gusties after a shootout victory for the Oles at Gustavus during the first of the two games on Friday night. The shootout came after a 2-2 tie following the first three periods of play, with St. Olaf scoring twice within the last two and a half minutes of play to bring the game to a tie and force the shootout. Senior Tobias Gabrielson ’19 provided the winning goal in the shootout, his first of the season. 

“With the new home arena and an impressive start to the season, men’s hockey is looking forward to nothing but success.” – Jake Maranda ’22

With the win over MIAC rival Gustavus, St. Olaf sits atop the conference, ahead of St. Thomas after the victory over Gustavus.

The team scored eight goals throughout the four games. Sawyer Jacobson ’19 and Brandon DesRossiers ’19 each provided two, and Tuukka Totro ’20, hailing from Helsinki, Finland, leads the team with four assists.

A standout performer for the Oles through the first four games is goalkeeper Noah Parker ’20. Parker has totaled 134 saves so far with an impressive 94.4 save percentage. Parker’s 134 saves make him the leading goalie in the MIAC.

Parker has had to fill in for senior goalkeeper and team captain Eric Hancock ’19, who is currently out with a knee injury. While not directly on the ice, Hancock is a proven team leader.

“As a captain, I look to keep the guys disciplined on the ice, in the locker and weight room,” Hancock said. “I look to facilitate the discipline and maturing throughout the team.”

Hancock’s experience with the game of hockey has proven an important asset for the team

“In knowing how the game goes, I feel I can offer a good foundation for the other players,” Hancock said.

With two younger goalies on the team, the senior has a lot to offer as a mentor, which is clearly noticeable in Parker’s impressive performances.

St. Olaf was picked to finish sixth in the MIAC Men’s Hockey Preseason Coaches Poll. Hancock has set the team’s goal higher than this.

“We’re looking to finish above .500 and get into a playoff spot,” he said.

To qualify for a playoff spot in the  MIAC, a team must finish in a top-five spot, and the fourth-place and fifth-place teams play each other for a buy-in spot to the playoffs. Hancock and the rest of the team think finishing top-five is definitely possible, and with the strong start to the season, the Oles have set a good pace to achieve this goal.

The St. Olaf men’s hockey team is participating in Movember, the practice of growing a mustache throughout the month of November. This act is in solidarity with St. Olaf athletic director Ryan Bowles, who was diagnosed with rectal cancer in May. Bowles continues to undergo treatment, and the hockey team looks to stand with him in his fight.

The hockey team will travel to the University of Wisconsin-Stout on Nov. 9. The team’s next home game will be Saturday, Nov. 17 at 7:30 p.m. at the Northfield Ice Arena, against Saint John’s University, the first of two in a doubleheader.

The game on Nov. 17 against Saint John’s will be the last home game played at the Northfield Ice Arena as the following home game against the University of Wisconsin-Stout on Jan. 4 will be the inaugural game at the St. Olaf Ice Arena.

The new ice arena, located in the Skoglund Center has been in the works for a long time. After talk of ‘bringing ice home,’ fundraising and multiple donations, the arena  is planned to open on Jan. 3rd,  with students invited for an open-skate and the first game the following night.

With the new home arena and an impressive start to the season, men’s hockey is looking forward to nothing but success.    

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