Auggies Run Into Red-Hot Goalie

Senior Jacob Stephan goes to the ice to make the save in the first period of the Cobbers' 2-1 win against #15 Augsburg in the series finale. Stephan finished with 35 saves.
Senior Jacob Stephan goes to the ice to make the save in the first period of the Cobbers' 2-1 win against #15 Augsburg in the series finale. Stephan finished with 35 saves.

MOORHEAD, Minn. (2/15/20)---Concordia turned the tide on No.15-ranked Augsburg 2-1 in the series finale to gain a split and set up a mad sprint to the finish for the regular-season title.

On Friday, Concordia outshot the Auggies but ran into a red-hot goalie which determined the outcome of the game. On Saturday, Augsburg outshot the Cobbers but it was CC goalie Jacob Stephan who was red-hot and proved to be the difference.

The Cobbers got a single goal in each of the first and second periods and then Stephan made it stand up by stopping 35 shots to earn the win.

The victory pushes Concordia to within three points of the league-leading Auggies with two games left in the regular season. The Cobbers remain in third place in the league standing as they up their point total to 26. CC trails second-place St. John's by a single point.

While Concordia peppered the Augsburg net in the first period and had nothing to show for it because of a red-hot Auggie goalie, the opening period of Saturday was the opposite. The Cobbers had eight shots on goal and scored on a centering pass from below the red line.

Senior Eddie Eades had control of the puck in the right corner and looked to throw the puck out in front of the net to a teammate crashing the net. The pass bounced off an Augsburg defender, fooled the goalie and slid across the goal line.

The opening goal of the game was unassisted and came at 2:57 of the first period. It gave the Cobbers the momentum in the game and Stephan would carry that through the 60 minutes of play.

Concordia killed off the lone penalty of the first period and then scored on the power play on the next penalty called in the game. Augsburg was whistled for a holding call at 5:19 of the second period. Concordia then spent the majority of the power play inside the Augsburg zone and put up six shots before senior Aaron Ryback doubled the CC lead with only 3-seconds left on the power play.

Just like Augsburg's game winner on Friday night, the Cobbers' game-winning goal in the finale came in the dying seconds of a power play.

The goal at 7:16 was Ryback's fourth of the year which is a single-season high for the Winnipeg native. Blake Berg was credited with his sixth assist of the year.

The rest of the game belonged to Stephan and the Cobber defense. Stephan would stop 23 of the 24 shots he would face in the final 32 minutes of play after CC took the 2-0 lead.

Concordia looked like it would get through the final period without any drama but then Augsburg made the final five minutes more interesting by cutting the lead to one goal at the 14:20 mark.

Like Friday night's game, the team on the losing end of the scoreboard held the edge in shots on goal. The Auggies outshot Concordia 36-31 for the game. The teams finished the series deadlocked in shots on goal at 58-58.

Joe Burgmeier led Concordia with four shots on goal.

Like the shots on goal Friday-Saturday phenomenon, the power play numbers were reversed from Friday, CC was 0-for-3 on the power play on Friday in the losing effort while Augsburg was 1-for-1. On Saturday, the Auggies were 0-for-3 and the Cobbers were 1-for-1.

INSIDE STAT INFO: The game marked only the sixth time all season that the Cobber team-leading soring duo of Tyler Bossert and Aaron Herdt has been held without a single point. Concordia is now 2-4 in those game when neither player posts a point in the game.

INSIDE STAT INFO II: The power play goal by Ryback ended an 0-for-20 streak for the Cobbers in the last seven games. Concordia is 7-for-51 with the extra skater in conference play.  

The 2020 MIAC season comes down to a 40-yard dash. The Cobbers have one series left in the regular season. Concordia will play at last place St. Olaf on Feb. 21-22. CC can wrap up a playoff spot with a single win and can still win the MIAC title with a sweep and split by Augsburg against St. Thomas and a split by St. John's at St. Mary's. The Oles are 4-16-3 overall this year and are 2-9-3 in the MIAC.