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Forum staff reports, Published December 06 2013

Concordia skates to tie with No. 8 St. Thomas

MOORHEAD – Concordia tied with one of the top teams in the country Friday night at the Moorhead Sports Center, but missed a chance to pick up an extra point in conference play.

The Cobbers scored two goals in the first period, skating to a 2-2 tie against No. 8-ranked St. Thomas in Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference men’s hockey.

The Tommies (6-1-2, 3-0-2 MIAC) picked up an extra point in the conference standings, however, winning the three-player shootout. St. Thomas earned two conference points, while the Cobbers (6-2-1, 3-1-1) earned one.

“We feel like we left some points on the table, but we understand we battled hard to come out with a tie,” Cobbers head coach Chris Howe said. “We feel like we didn’t play our best game and we tied them. I like that we competed for the whole game.”

The shootout is new to the MIAC, which is the first Division III league to use shootouts. While the game counts as a tie on both teams’ records, for the purpose of the conference race, the team that wins the shootout gets the extra point.

The Cobbers missed on all three of their shootout chances. Concordia’s second shooter, Jordan Christianson, hit the crossbar on his attempt. The first two St. Thomas skaters missed in the shootout. That set the stage for Tommies sophomore Jordan Lovick. Lovick faked out Neamonitis before tucking the puck into the net to win the shootout.

“It is a tough way to give up a point,” said Neamonitis, who finished with 36 saves. “We hit a post and they scored. … No one in that room is satisfied right now.”

The Cobbers appeared headed for victory early in the game, scoring two goals in less than two minutes in the first period. Sophomore Tucker Coborn scored Concordia’s first goal at the 12:41 mark. Moments later freshman forward Garrett Hendrickson lit the lamp at the 14:29 mark for a 2-0 lead.

“It was fun to see our guys play well,” Howe said of the scoring flurry. “We had a chance to make it 3-0. We had a couple of good looks. That would have been huge.”

St. Thomas climbed back into the game with goals in the second and third periods. Tommies sophomore Derek Jacobson scored off a rebound to tie the game at 2-2 at 6:16 of the third period. Less than two minutes later, St. Thomas appeared to take the lead, but the goal was disallowed due to a high stick.

“It is a bit of a downer,” Neamonitis said. “St. Thomas is a good team … but we didn’t play as well as we thought we should have.”

The Cobbers host the league-leading Tommies at 2 p.m. today to close out the two-game series.

“If we want to win our league, we know (today) is a must win,” Neamonitis said.

FIRST PERIOD: 1, CC, T. Coborn (S. Coborn, Hrabowych) 12:41. 2, CC, Hendrickson (Deters, Bancroft) 14:29.

SECOND PERIOD: 3, UST, Gubb (Nielsen, Sorensen) 5:08.

THIRD PERIOD: 4, UST, Jacobson (Lovick, Richter) 6:16.

OVERTIME: No scoring.

SHOOTOUT: CC (none), UST (Lovick).

SAVES: UST, Fielding 9-6-9-5–29. CC, Neamonitis 10-16-9-1–36.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found

at peterson.areavoices.com