GENEVA, Ill. — After erupting for a season-high seven goals in Saturday’s 7-2 nonconference win over Aurora, the Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota men’s hockey team appeared to be on the verge of a more defensive win in the rematch—leading 2-0 after the first two periods.
Over the final 20 minutes, however, the Cardinals’ offense returned to Saturday form, erupting for three goals in completing the sweep with a 5-0 victory at Fox Valley Ice Arena.
“Anytime you can come away with back-to-back wins in a weekend series it’s a huge momentum boost,” said Saint Mary’s coach Bill Moore. “I was really happy with the way we played defensively—only allowing 12 shots on goal is a solid, solid performance. And our power-play picked it up a bit, which was great to see.
“Overall, it’s a nice way to head into the semester break.”
Jay Heinle (York, Pa.) and Nick Albergo (Elmhurst, Ill.) netted the Cardinals’ first two goals—Heinle’s with 1:34 remaining in the first period and Albergo’s just 28 seconds into the second—to give Saint Mary’s a 2-0 advantage with one period to play.
And in that period, Heinle and Albergo sandwiched their second goals of the game around a power-play tally by Bob Kinne (St. Paul, Minn.) to complete the rout.
Jake Hebda (Firestone, Colo.)—making his first start of the season—stopped all 12 Spartan shots in recording his first shutout in a Cardinal uniform. The Aurora tandem of Max Kirkwood and Jared Rutledge combined for 21 saves in goal for the Spartans.
The Cardinals (7-4-2 overall) are now off until Jan. 6-7, 2017, when they square off against St. Thomas in a two-game MIAC series. Saint Mary’s will head to the St. Thomas Ice Arena in Mendota Heights, Minn., on Friday, Jan. 6 for a 7 p.m. showdown, with the teams heading to the Saint Mary’s Ice Arena for the 7 p.m. rematch a day later.