Lake Forest College, which is receiving votes in the USCHO.com national poll, swept the St. Olaf men’s hockey team over Thanksgiving Weekend at Alumni Memoiral Fieldhouse in Illinois.
In the opener Saturday, Lake Forest used two goals in the first three minutes of the second period to break open a scoreless game and went on to defeat St. Olaf College 3-1.
After a scoreless opening period, Lake Forest (7-2-1) got goals from Joey Sardina and David Cohen 1:50 apart early in the second and held off St. Olaf (1-9-0) after senior Steve MacIver netted his first-career goal in the final two minutes of the second. The Foresters added an empty-net goal with 14 seconds remaining to ensure the win in the series opener in the first meeting between the two programs since Jan. 11, 2014.
Senior Noah Parker, a Northfield native, saved all 17 shots he faced in the first period to help the Oles keep the game scoreless at the first intermission despite being outshot by a 17-9 margin in the first 20 minutes. St. Olaf killed off a pair of penalties in the opening period as well.
After senior Tuukka Totro fired a pair of shots on goal in the first minute of the second, Lake Forest opened the scoring through Sardina’s goal at 1:02 and cashed in on the power play 1:50 later on a tally by Cohen to quickly increase the hosts’ lead to 2-0.
The Oles killed off a penalty later in the period and got on the board at the 18:19 mark on MacIver’s first collegiate goal, which was assisted by Totro.
Trailing by just one goal, St. Olaf got its first power play of the game just 27 seconds into the third period, but the Lake Forest defense blocked four of the Oles’ five shot attempts on the man advantage to maintain the one-goal lead.
The Oles generated four shots on goal in the final 3:19 of the game, but Boyd DiClemente stopped all four, as the Foresters added an empty-net goal at 19:46 after winning a defensive zone faceoff with 20 seconds to go.
Parker made 40 saves in the loss to record his second 40-save outing of the season to help him earn MIAC Player of the Week honors for the third time in his career, while DiClemente improved to 6-1-1 on the season by stopping 23 of the 24 shots he faced.
In the finale Sunday, Aaron O’Neill recorded two goals and two assists as Lake Forest College scored the game’s final five goals to record a 7-1 victory.
Lake Forest led 2-0 after one period before senior Paul Stehr halved the deficit for St. Olaf on the power play at 3:37 of the second. The Foresters responded by scoring the final five goals of the game, including both of O’Neill’s tallies, to complete the sweep.
In his collegiate debut, sophomore goaltender Colin Calin was drawn into action early and made his first-career save to deny Cullen Kane in a 1-on-1 juts 2:09 in after a defensive zone giveaway by the Oles. Two and a half minutes later, the Foresters opened the scoring when Austin Aksoy beat Cain through the five hole from the bottom of the right circle.
Lake Forest doubled its lead heading into the first intermission when Kane scored on the power play just nine seconds after hitting the post.
The second period featured a combined 13 penalties between the two teams, as St. Olaf killed off an early penalty and then converted on a power play to make it a one-goal game. Stehr tied classmate Kyle Rimbach for the team lead with his third goal of the season, firing a shot through traffic from outside the circles off an assist from first year Evan Shoemaker at 3:37.
After David Cohen gave the Foresters a two-goal lead again at 14:06 of the second, Stehr fired a shot off the pipe in the final seconds of a 33-second 5-on-3 for St. Olaf. O’Neill tallied his first goal of the afternoon on the power play with just half a second remaining in the second to send Lake Forest into the third with a 4-1 lead.
The Foresters tacked on goals from Drew Shields, Joey Sardina and O’Neill in the third to wrap up the six-goal victory. Lake Forest outshot St. Olaf by a 35-18 margin, as Cain finished with 28 saves in his debut. Boyd DiClemente registered 17 saves to record the victory for the hosts.
St. Olaf returns to MIAC play on Friday with a road game against Augsburg at Ed Saugestad Rink in Minneapolis. Puck drop is slated for 7 p.m.