February 20, 2009

Pipers clinch second consecutive MIAC playoff berth

The Pipers started off the game by killing of a minor penalty and then getting a skater advantage themselves at 6:01, just seconds after returning to full-strength. Just over a minute later Chris Berenguer (So., Eden Prairie, Minn.) scored the power play goal at 7:23 to put Hamline up 1-0. Dustin Fulton (Sr., Brooklyn Park, Minn.) and Andrew Birkholz (Sr., Maple Grove, Minn.) were credited with the assists.

 Joe Long (Sr., Dayton, Minn.) upped the lead to 2-0 at 12:11 in the first as he took advantage of the two seconds of four-on-four skating left before a Gustavus power play began. Jared Hummel (So., Eagan, Minn.) and Jordan VanGilder (Lino Lakes, Minn.) earned the assists on the score.

 The Piper penalty kill unit then killed off a two minute and ten second Gustie 5-on-4 advantage to preserve the 2-0 lead.

 The Gusties made it a one-goal game again at 17:47 with a power play goal from Ross Ring-Jarvi (Fy., Anoka, Minn.). David Martinson (Jr., St. Louis Park, Minn.) and Brad Wieck (So., Shoreview, Minn.) were credited with the assists.

 After an even, but scoreless, opening ten minutes of play in the second period, a trio of goals moved the Pipers from a 2-1 advantage to a 4-2 lead.

 Hummel started the scoring to put the Pipers up by two once again as he scored at 9:38 from Nick Zilka (So., Mound, Minn.).

 Gustavus gained a skater advantage soon after, cutting the Piper lead to one with a power play goal at 11:40 from Rory Dynan (Jr., Maple Plain, Minn.). He was assisted by Casey Dynan (Sr., Maple Plain, Minn.) and Spencer Campion (Jr., Plymouth, Minn.).

 Fulton didn’t let the Gusties get too comfortable with their one goal deficit, as he put them down by two once again just 25 seconds later at 12:05. Berenguer and Birkholz were credited with the assists. The score remained 4-2 heading into the third period.

 Long scored his second goal of the game, and only of the period, unassisted, at 3:25 in the third. The score came just three seconds after the Pipers finished killing a penalty and returned to even strength.

 After the game, the team held their Senior Night ceremony on the ice to honor seven graduating Pipers. The seven make up head coach Scott Bell’s first senior class. As a group, the seven led the Pipers to their first MIAC championship in 60 years by capturing the 2007-08 regular season championship and produced a school record number of wins in that same year.

The class consists of Andrew Birkholz (Maple Grove, Minn.), Steve Festler (Little Falls, Minn.), Joe Long (Dayton, Minn.), Jim Erickson (Brooklyn Park, Minn.), Dustin Fulton (Brooklyn Park, Minn.), Justin Hanna (Little Canada, Minn.), and Matt Buckley (Dayton, Minn.)

 The Pipers improve to 14-9-1, 9-6-0 MIAC while the Gusties fall to 14-10-0, 9-6-0 MIAC. The same two teams will play tomorrow, Saturday, February 21, at Gustavus. The opening puck drop on the teams’ final game of the MIAC regular season will be at 7:15 p.m.

 Seedings in the 2009 MIAC tournament with be determined by Saturday’s games. The playoffs begin on Thursday, February 26.