St. Johns 3, Yellowjackets 1
The UWS Men’s Hockey season kicked off over the weekend to a less than ideal start. The Jacket’s fell 3–1 to St. John’s at Wessman Arena before a crowd of 857 on November 8.
The season opener started well as the Yellowjackets came out flying early and controlling the pace of the game. After a penalty to St. Johns Kevin Becker at the 2:08 mark, the Yellowjackets generated several scoring chances but were only able to get one shot off on Johnnie’s goaltender Saxton Soley. But the Yellowjackets were able to bang one home three seconds after their power play had expired to take a 1–0 lead early. Freshman Jordan Shockley buried his first collegiate goal at the 4:11 mark of the first during a scramble in front of the net. Wes Judnick and Anton Svensson assisted on Shockley’s tally.
After Shockley’s goal, the Johnnies controlled the play for the remainder of the game as the Jackets were unable to generate much offense for the remainder of the game. St. John’s answered on a Tyson Fulton goal at the 9:59 mark of the first and the two teams went to the dressing room tied at one. Becker fed Fulton in front of the net and he buried the one timer.
In the second period, the Yellowjackets were outshot 12–6 and surrendered what ended up being the game winning goal. John Haeg buried his first of the year at the 8:38 mark of the second. The Jackets were unable to convert on their power play opportunity as they were held to one shot.
Starting the third period down only one goal thanks to the excellent play of senior goaltender Drew Strandberg, the game was still very much in reach. The Jackets had two man advantages in the third period but failed to convert or even get a shot on goal. St. Johns’ Dan McNamara made a nifty move around a Yellowjacket defender and hit the top corner of the net beating Strandberg on his glove side to seal the deal. The goal came at the 13:44 mark of the final period and was assisted by Becker, his second helper of the night, and Nick Senta.
Strandberg played well in net for the Yellowjackets stopping 27 shots and falling to 0–1-0 on the year. Soley stopped 15 shots for the Johnnies who improved to 2–1 on the season. Both teams were 0–5 on the man advantage. UWS managed two shots on goal while allowing the Johnnies nine shots in five powerplay opportunities. St. John’s also tallied two shorthanded shots.
Concordia College 3, Yellowjackets 2
On Saturday night the Yellowjackets battled with the Concordia College Cobbers. Again the Jackets came up short allowing a third period goal to fall 3–2.
Once again the Yellowjackets came out strong. Just 2:26 in to opening period, Eric Shand put the Yellowjackets on the scoreboard with his first of the year. UWS defenseman Derek Stauber found his defensive partner in the right circle who buried his first collegiate goal. The Jackets ended the first period on top 1–0 outshooting the Cobbers 9–5. UWS turned to junior transfer goaltender Dayn Belfour, who stopped all five shots in the period.
UW-Superior kept up the pressure in the second but only able to notch one goal. But it was the Cobbers who struck first in the second period at the 2:33 mark when Jeremy Johnson beat Belfour to tie it up at one. Then, at the 10:20 mark of the second, the Cobbers took their first lead of the game when Dan Hrabowych took a friendly bounce and took off on a breakaway. Belfour attempted to poke check it away but the rebound went right to Caleb Suderman as he tapped it in to make it a 2–1 game. Late in the period the Jackets were able to capitalize on a powerplay chance to even the game up. A shot by Derek Stauber caromed to Yellowjacket freshman Jordan Neduzak who put it past Cobber goaltender Chris Neomontis for a powerplay goal to even the game at two. Stauber picked up his seconf assist of the night. Jordan Shockley also added an assist on the goal. The Yellowjackets amassed 18 shots in the second period but only converted one time. The Jackets had five powerplay opprotunites in the period also only converting one time.
Nearly midway through the final frame, the Cobbers netted what would eventually be the game winner. Jordan Christianson beat Belfour to record his second point of the game and give the Cobbers a 3–2 advantage. It would stay that way as the Yellowjackets couldn’t connect on last minute chances and took their second straight loss to open the season.
Neomontis was stellar in goal for Concordia as he stopped 37 shots en route to the victory. Belfour stopped 16 shots in his first loss of the year.
UWS had several powerplay opprotunites but the Cobbers penalty kill stymied the Jackets who were 1–8 on the man advantage. Concordia was 0–2 on the powerplay.
The Jackets (0–2-0, 0–0-0 WIAC) will hit the road this weekend to battle Saint Mary’s University on Friday in Winona, Minn. and Hamiline University on Saturday in Falcon Heights, Minn. Game time for both is set for 7 p.m.