February 23, 2012

Pipers Start Fast But Fall To St. Olaf In MIAC Playoff Game

Hamline got off to a fast start in their first round MIAC playoff game at Northfield, stunning host St. Olaf for a 2-0 lead on goals by Austin Cihak and Jordan VanGilder. But the Oles kept their composure and rallied for a 3-2 decision that ended Hamline's bid for back-to-back MIAC post-season titles. The Pipers finished 10-14-2 under first-year coach Scott Steffen.

Even though the game started late because of a high school section game, the Pipers were ready from the get-go. Cihak took a feed from Kirk Olimb and deked his way past the goalie to give the Pipers a quick 1-0 lead at 7:24. Van Gilder, playing his 98th career game, scored career goal No. 33 at 13:21 to make it 2-0. But the Oles responded shortly thereafter and it was 2-1 after a period.

Hamline held the edge in play, outshooting the Oles, 9-8.

In the middle period, the play opened up at both ends of the ice with Hamline holding a 13-12 edge in shots on goal. But the Oles got the only goals of the period (the second of which was a shorthanded tally) and went into the locker room with a 3-2 lead.

In the third period, the Pipers had several chances, including a power play for most of the final 3:59 of play, holding a 11-6 edge in shots.  Beau Christian, who played well in goal with 23 saves, left for a sixth attacker in the final minute. But the Oles, which killed off all HU power plays, held firm to take the win.

It was a frustrating end for four seniors who played such a critical role in elevating Hamline's hockey program. In addition to Van Gilder and Christian, forward Brian Arrigoni (109 games, 55 goals, 69 assists) and Tim Olson (94 games on defense) played their last games at HU.

Box Score Here