The hardest part of the 2011-12 men's hockey season for Hamline is about to begin. The Pipers will be scoreboard watching next weekend to see if they get a chance to repeat as MIAC Playoff Champions. Beau Christian had another yeoman effort, kicking out 34 shots Saturday night at Vadnais Heights. But Concordia scored a late goal for a 2-1 win. The Pipers are in fifth place with 15 points with a 7-8-1 mark, two points ahead of Concordia. But this was their last games of the year.
The Cobbers go home to face St. Mary's next weekend. Hamline needs the Cardinals to win at least two points (a win or two ties) of that series to keep their postseason hopes alive. Should the teams tie for the final playoff spot, Hamline would make the playoffs because they own the second tiebreaker (most wins).
The Pipers also have become huge fans of St. John's. They need the Johnnies to take two points from Bethel next weekend. The Royals have 12 points. If they get to 15, they would knock out HU on a tiebreaker.
As was the case the night before, this was a titanic defensive struggle all night. Jordan Van Gilder broke the ice for HU in the second period with his 10th goal of the season. Joe Rubbelke's rush was thwarted near the front of the net. Van Gilder swooped in and knocked the puck home at 3:23 to give Hamline a 1-0 lead. CC tied the game a minute later, breaking Christian's shutout string at 183:58.
The Cobbers pressed hard in the third period, finally scoring with 5:41 to play on a shot from the point. Christian left for a sixth attacker in the final minute of play but the Pipers could not get the equalizer.
Hamline is 10-13-2 overall under first year head coach Scott Steffen.