St. Thomas Women's Hockey closed its 2017-18 season with an MIAC co-championship. Coach Tom Palkowski's Tommies scored a 3-0 win over Hamline on home ice Saturday afternoon in Mendota Heights to cap a three-point weekend and knock the Pipers out of the conference lead.
Gustavus used a 7-1 home win over St. Ben's to tie St. Thomas for the MIAC crown.
Hamline came into the series averaging five goals a game but scored just three in two games in a tie and a loss to St. Thomas.
Maddy Fiedler and Rachel Werdin scored goals in a 3:30 span early in period two to stake the Toms to a lead. Alyssa Wallace added an insurance goal in the third period. Junior Kenzie Torpy played 58-plus minutes to get the shutout in net.
This was St. Thomas' fifth MIAC regular-season championship in women's hockey and third in the last five seasons. The Toms have won the last four MIAC playoff titles. It's also MIAC regular-season title No. 420 for St. Thomas.
The Tommies (16-3-6 overall, 12-1-5 MIAC) finished their season with a 16-game MIAC unbeaten streak (11-1-5). They will not play in the MIAC playoffs or NCAA playoffs due to a self-imposed penalty following an alcohol incident in the March 2017 postseason.
Senior center Tyler Weiss contributed a game-high 20 points to go with eight rebounds and three blocks as No. 3-ranked St. John's overcame a sluggish offensive game for both teams to beat the host Tommies, 57-50, and cap off a 19-1 MIAC season.
It was just the second home loss of the season for St. Thomas (14-11 overall, 12-8 MIAC). With a standing-room crowd of near 1,800 on hand, the Tommies only had six turnovers but had the program's lowest offensive output in 13 seasons as they shot just 32 percent from the field (20-of-63) and made only 5-of-13 at the foul line.
Lucas Walford added eight points, 16 boards and three blocks for the Johnnies (23-2, 19-1), who won their first conference regular-season crown since 2001 and improved six wins from their fourth-place finsh of 2016-17.
The Johnnies led 29-18 at halftime, thanks in part to 5-of-10 point shooting from behind the arc. SJU pushed the lead to 13 early in the second half but would only make 1-of-10 treys on the second half as their lead evaporated. SJU, which came in averaging 80 points a contest, closed with its lowest offensive game in three seasons, and the 107 combined points were the fewest for a Tommie-Johnnie game in 21 seasons.
St. Thomas cut the deficit to one twice in the final eight minutes but never regained a lead. The Toms went scoreless in the final 1:29.
Ryan Boll had 11 points, all in the second half, to lead St. Thomas. Freshman Burt Hedstrom had 10 points and eight rebounds, and G.T. Johnson added nine points and 12 rebounds. Johnson's defense helped slow SJU shooting ace junior guard David Stokman, a 1,000-point career scorer, who scored just one point over 19 minutes.
St. John's is the MIAC playoff top seed and has a Wednesday night round-one bye. The Toms are the fifth seed and play Wednesday at No. 4 seed Augsburg, a team it lost to twice in the regular season.
No. 8-ranked St. Thomas raced to a 33-8 lead in the opening quarter but needed a missed trey in the closing seconds to avoid overtime and post a 67-64 win over No. 23-ranked St. Ben's in MIAC play at Schoenecker Arena.
The Tommies became the first MIAC women's hoops program to capture four consecutive solo championships in the sport's 35-year conference history.
Coach Ruth Sinn's Tommies (23-2 overall, 18-0 MIAC) ran their win streak over conference opponents to 52 and their season win streak to 15, despite letting big leads slip away in each half.
Senior center Niki Fokken had 25 points, six boards, five assists and three blocks for the Blazers (22-3, 16-2), who had a seven-game win streak halted. Megan Thompson added 18 points.
UST junior center Hannah Spaulding -- the nation's leading field-goal shooter -- had 20 points, nine rebounds, five blocks and three steals in just 23 minutes, making 9-of-12 shots.
But Spaulding was injured early in the fourth quarter and didn't return. UST's next best scoring threat, junior guard Lucia Renikoff also was knocked out with an eye poke, which contributed to an 11-2 Blazer run that pulled the visitors within seven points with 6:41 to go. The Blazers later climbed within 64-62 with 1:51 remaining, but Renikoff, who had just came back onto the floor, nailed a 3-pointer with 90 seconds to go to extend the lead to 67-62.
St. Ben's got a basket from Fokken to pull within 67-64, but missed two free throws in the final minute. They had a chance to tie in the final 15 seconds but missed a trey and missed a layup on their final two shots.
Junior guard Kaylie Brazil scored 10 of her 14 points in the second half and added five assists for another clutch performance. Lauren Fischer had eight points and four assists, and Renikoff had eight points and six boards. St. Thomas made 14 of 16 shots in the first quarter, then survived a poor second half which included 11 turnovers and 9-of-31 shooting.
The Tommies have won three of their last four games by a combined 13 points with Spaulding (20 ppg) either fouled out or in the training room in the final stretch of each contest.
Track and Field
St. Thomas clocked the nation's fourth best distance medley relay time Saturday at the U of M Gopher Parents Day meet in Minneapolis. Jenny Walz, Brielle Bierman, Hannah Helstad and Ali Glassbrenner clocked 11:54, a time that converts to 11:47 for NCAA purposes.
Kendall Novak had a career-best 12-2 in the pole vault, a mark that ranks in the top 15 nationally. Katie Murray took first out of 30 in the 60 dash in 7.87.
The men sent some athletes to St. Olaf's Saturday meet. Soph Karl Wachter and freshman Carl Kozlowski popped the No. 3-4 times in the MIAC in the 1000.
St. Thomas and Concordia-Moorhead split two matches Saturday night at the U of M Gophers Baseline Courts. The Tommie women won 9-0, but the young St. Thomas men's team dropped a 5-4 decision. Zach LeVene and Jordan Schenck won at third doubles and Erich Nuss and Nick Vossen bounced back to win the singles matches. Needing to win the two tiebreakers on court, UST only captured one to fall one point short.
St. Thomas 9, Concordia 0
UST Jenna Zimmerman def Jenna Forknell, 6-0, 6-2
UST Caitlin Bakke def Kindra Stoich, 6-1,6-0
UST Taylor McLeod def Maia Wendel, 6-1,6-0
UST Paige McLeod def Lisa Neumann, 6-1, 6-1
UST Sarah Benoy def Josie Beachy, 6-1, 6-0
UST Catherine Lindsay def Lexi Johnson, 6-0, 6-0
1. UST Zimmerman/Paige McLeod def Forknell/Wendel, 8-2
2. UST Bakke/Taylor McLeod def Neumann/Stoick, 8-1
3. UST Benoy/Lindsay def Beachy/Johnson, 8-2
Saturday, February 17, 2018
UST Men 9, Concordia College 0
#1) Isaac Toivinen (CC) def. Ben Wait (UST) 6-1, 7-5
#2) Eric Porter (CC) def. Sterling Sibley (UST) 6-4, 6-0
#3) Nick Vossen (UST) def. David Youngs (CC) 7-6(2), 6-0
#4) Erich Nuss (UST) def. Matt Engum (CC) 4-6, 6-2, 21-19
#5) David Schneck (CC) def. James Paradisin (UST) 6-7(4), 6-1, 10-2
#6) Zach LeVene (UST) def. Jared Saue (CC) 6-3, 2-6, 15-13
#1) Isaac Toivinen & David Youngs (CC) def. Erich Nuss & Ben Wait (UST) 8-1
#2) Eric Porter & David Schneck (CC) def. Sterling Sibley & Nick Vossen (UST) 8-3
#3) Zach LeVene & Jordan Schenck (UST) def. Ben Swanson & Matt Engum (CC) 8-5