Trading Places

Players watch the puck head into the St. Mary's goal after a shot from Dalton Mills (far) in the first period of the series finale on Saturday.
Players watch the puck head into the St. Mary's goal after a shot from Dalton Mills (far) in the first period of the series finale on Saturday.

MOORHEAD, Minn. (1/13/18)---Concordia and St. Mary's traded places in the second game of their conference series.

On Friday the Cobbers fell behind 2-0 in the first five minutes of the first period, scored three straight goals and wound up winning 5-4. On Saturday, in the series finale, the Cardinals fell behind 2-0 in the first six minutes of the opening period and then scored four consecutive goals in the first and second frames and went on to win 5-3.

Mario Bianchi put an end to the Cardinals' four-goal spree in the final minute of the second period but then St. Mary's countered with a goal in the third minute of the final stanza to regain the two-goal lead. CC would put up 10 shots in the third period but couldn't come up with the game-tying goals.

The loss gives Concordia a series split with SMU and drops their overall record to .500 on the season. CC is 7-7-3 in all games and 4-3-1 in league play. The Cardinals win for the first time since November and up their overall record to 4-10-2. SMU is 2-5-1 in the MIAC.

Friday night's overtime hero Dalton Mills wasted little time in staking the Cobbers to a 1-0 lead early in the game. He netted his second goal in as many games at the 4:44 mark to stake Concordia to a 1-0 lead. Quinn Fuchs and Joe Burgmeier added the assists on the even-strength goal.

The Cobbers' top line of Biachi, Zach Doerring and Jon Grebosky would double the lead less than 30-seconds later. Doerring scored at 5:15 and Bianchi and Grebosky picked up the assists to give CC a 2-0 lead.

St. Mary's started their comeback at 12:17 of the first period and then added three more tallies in the second to take a 4-2 lead.

Bianchi would cut the lead to a single goal when he scored at 19:06 of the second. The most head-scratching play of the game came in the final 10-seconds of the middle frame when the referees sent six players, three from each team, to the penalty box for unexplained unsportsmanlike penalties.

The teams would skate into the intermission at 4-3 and the game had the makings of a dramatic third period. Unfortunately an early goal by SMU took the wind out of the game and forced Concordia to chase a two-goal lead.

For the second straight game the teams were nearly equal in shots on goal. St. Mary's held a 36-35 edge in the game. Concordia had four players with four shots on goal in the game. Bianchi, Mills, Tanner Okeson and Jake Ellingson all had a quartet of shots on goal.

Concordia split the goaltending duties. Sam Nelson started the game and made 19 saves. Jacob Stephan came on in the second period and turned aside 12 shots.   

After their brief two-game home stand the Cobbers will hit the road to play at St. John's on Jan. 19-20. The teams will play at the National Hockey Center in St. Cloud on Friday, Jan. 19 at 7 p.m. and then head to the Municipal Athletic Complex to complete the weekend on Saturday, Jan. 20 at 1 p.m. The Johnnies are currently 10-4-2 in all games and 5-2-0 in the MIAC and just ahead of the Cobbers in the league standings.