Another Season-Opening Win

Sophomore defenseman Turk Skatliff tries to control the puck by the Cobber net in Concordia's 3-2 MIAC quarterfinal win at Hamline. (Photo courtesy of Hamline sports information office)
Sophomore defenseman Turk Skatliff tries to control the puck by the Cobber net in Concordia's 3-2 MIAC quarterfinal win at Hamline. (Photo courtesy of Hamline sports information office)

ST. PAUL, Minn. (2/23/17)--- Zach Doerring's rebound goal at 10:27 of the third period propelled Concordia to a 3-2 win over Hamline in the quarterfinals of the MIAC playoffs.

The victory is the first postseason triumph for the Cobbers since the 2010-11 season and advances Concordia to the league semifinals where they will play No.1 seed St. Thomas on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 7 p.m.

The game, which was a rematch of last year's MIAC quarterfinal game where Hamline won 3-0 in St. Paul, went back-and-forth on the scoreboard for the first 50 minutes. Concordia scored first at 12:15 of the opening period. The Pipers tied the game 1:28 later. Hamline then took a 2-1 lead at 4:02 of the second frame only to have the Cobbers respond with a game-tying goal of their own 1:55 later.

Concordia scored a shorthanded, power play and even strength goal to earn their 14th win of the season. CC is now 14-10-2 for the year while Hamline ends their season with a 10-10-6 mark.

The first line tandem of Doerring and Jon Grebosky combined on the first and third goals for the Cobbers as the pair has turned into one of the top 1-2 combinations in the MIAC.

Grebosky got Concordia on the board first when he scored a shorthanded goal midway through the first period. The goal was Grebosky's team-leading 13th of the year while Doerring earned his team-leading 18th helper.

The goal would be short-lived as Hamline struck shortly after the power play ended to tie the game at the 13:43 mark of the opening frame.

Hamline outshot the Cobbers 12-8 in the first period and that trend would continue throughout the first two periods.

The Pipers held most of the offensive zone time in the second period and were rewarded for their pressure when they scored their only go-ahead goal at 4:02.

Like Concordia's lead in the first period, the Hamline lead would last then two minutes. The Cobbers were sent on one of their five power plays in the game at the 4:15 mark and scored the only man-advantage goal of the game with only 18-seconds remaining on the PP.

Sophomore Mario Bianchi got control of the puck between the face-off circles and fired off a wrist shot that beat the Hamline goalie. Freshmen defensemen Eddie Eades and Tanner Okeson were credited with the assists on the game-tying goal.

HU held a decided 11-3 edge in shots in the middle stanza.

The game returned to a two-way street in the third period and both teams had chances to score in the first 10 minutes. The game-deciding strike came after Concordia was pinned in its own defensive end. CC then won control of the puck and jumped forward on an odd-man rush. The initial shot on the rush was saved but Doerring crashed towards the net and was able to slam home the rebound. Grebosky and junior Bryan Kronberger were given the assists on the final goal of the game.

The final minutes of play were made less dramatic due to a trio of Hamline penalties in the final seven minutes of regulation. Concordia was on the power play from the 15:43 mark all the way until 26 seconds left in regulation.

Hamline made one last rush in the final minute of play but freshman goalie Sam Nelson put the final touches on the playoff win with a big save off of a Piper shot from just outside the crease.

The Pipers outshot the Cobbers 33-21 for the game. Grebosky had a game-high six shots on net with five different CC players having two shots each.

Nelson stopped 31 of the 33 shots he faced to record the first playoff win of his collegiate career.

TWO TOUCHDOWN TOTAL: Concordia's win total of 14 is the most in a single season by the Cobbers since the 2001 season. It is also the third most for a Concordia team since 1987.       

9-10 PUNCH: No.9 Jon Grebosky and No.10 Zach Doerring have combined to score 20 goals on the season. Either Grebosky or Doerring has scored in 14 of the team's 26 games this year. The Cobbers are now 9-4-1 when either No.9 or No.10 score. The two have both scored in three games and CC is 3-0 in those games.

GAME WINNER GASPS: The game winner was Doerring's third of the year which ties him for the team lead. Senior captain Jeremy Johnson and junior Dalton Mills also have a trio of game winners on the year.  

WHAT'S NEXT: Concordia will stay in the Twin Cities and get ready to play in the MIAC semifinals. The Cobbers will square off against St. Thomas on Saturday at 7 p.m. It will be the fourth time this season the teams have met. CC holds a 2-1 advantage as they took a 1-0 decision in the season opener and then the teams split the regular-season series at the start of February in Moorhead. The last time the teams met in the playoffs was in 2011 when Concordia posted a 4-2 victory in St. Paul in the semifinals.