The Hamline men's hockey team will end 2011 with a feel for what big time eastern hockey, Division III style, is all about. The Pipers (5-7 overall) will ring in 2012 in northern New York playing two games in the Pathfinder Bank/Oswego Classic in Oswego, NY. (Oswego, a town of approximately 18,000 people is roughly 35 miles north of Syracuse.) Hamline opens the action this afternoon against Neumann College,which is currently tied with Milwaukee School Of Engineering for No. 11 in the country in the latest USCHO.com Division III poll.
Game time is 3:00 p.m. CST.
A member of the ECAC (Eastern College Athletic Conference) West, the Knights, who won the NCAA Division III title in 2009 (defeating Gustavus in the championship game) are 7-3 overall. However, two of those losses have been to Elmira, which has consistently been in the Top Ten in the USCHO.com polls.
Hamline is looking to snap a frustrating four-game losing streak. The last three losses were all by one goal. Two of them were OT setbacks. HU senior goalie Beau Christian has been sharp in his last two starts, kicking out 62 shots and allowing just five goals.
This is the first meeting ever between the two schools.
The other half of the tournament pits Connecticut College (2-6) against host Oswego State (9-1-2). The CC Camels are members of the NESCAC (New England Small College Athletic Conference). In recent years, the Camels have struggled to get by traditional powers Middlebury and Amherst. The host Lakers, who are members of the SUNYAC (State University of New York Athletic Conference) have been in the Division III Frozen Four three of the last six seasons, winning it all in 2007. They have been on fire this year, outscoring their foes 54-25 and currently stand No. 2 in the USCHO poll (behind undefeated Norwich).
If the Pipers win, they will play the winner of the Connecticut-Oswego clash at 3:00 p.m. Saturday. If they lose, they play the loser of that game at 12:00 p.m.
You can watch the action online or simply get live stats for both of Hamline's games in this event by clicking here.
The Pipers return to the Vadnais Heights Sports Center January 7 for a non-conference affair against Wisconsin-Stout. Game time is 2:00 p.m.