Bennies and Johnnies Secure Spots in MIAC Basketball Tournaments
The St. Cloud State University women's hockey team and the Gopher hockey teams each earned their second win of the weekend to secure sweeps on Saturday, while the St. Cloud Norsemen and St. Ben's hockey teams won to earn splits, and the SCSU, CSB, and SJU basketball teams all came out victorious as well. The St. Cloud State men's hockey team came away with a tie in game two against UND, the Gopher basketball teams both suffered losses, and the Granite City Lumberjacks lost back-to-back games for just the second time this season. On Sunday, the Minnesota Wild will look to put together a winning streak when they host Nashville.
- The no. 12 SCSU women's hockey team swept no. 15 MSU-Mankato and locked up the no. 5 seed in the conference tournament with a 5-2 Saturday win. The Huskies tied the program record for most regular season wins at 18. Addi Scribner led all scorers with two goals for St. Cloud. The Huskies improve to 18-16-1 and 11-16-1 WCHA. St. Cloud will head to Duluth for a best-of-three WCHA Quarterfinal series starting Friday.
- The no. 2 Gopher men's hockey team came out on top 3-2 over no. 7 Penn State in OT to complete the series sweep on Saturday. Matthew Knies led Minnesota with two goals, including the tying score and the game-winner. Justen Close made 26 saves and allowed two goals. The Gophers improve to 23-8-1, 17-4-1 B1G and will close out the regular season with a home series against Ohio State. Game one is set for 8:00 p.m. Friday night in Minneapolis.
- The no. 4 Gopher women's hockey team finished the regular season with a series sweep of St. Thomas thanks to a 4-2 win in St. Paul on Saturday. Abigail Boreen led Minnesota with two goals, while Taylor Heise and Abbey Murphy each added one. The Gophers outshot the Tommies 59-26 in the win. The Gophers improve to 25-5-3, 22-3-3 WCHA and will host either St. Thomas or Bemidji State in the first round of the conference tournament at 6:00 p.m. on Friday.
- The SCSU men's basketball team wrapped up the regular season with a 90-64 beat down of the University of Minnesota-Crookston at home Saturday. The Huskies took a dominant 49-24 lead in the first half. The Golden Eagles rallied in the second, scoring one point less than St. Cloud at 41-40, but the cushion was big enough to lift the Huskies to victory. Six players hit double-digit scoring for SCSU including Luke Taylor who led with 18, Dominic Aguilar and Joe Mutimer who added 15, and Andre Renta, Tony Dahl, and Kevin Cook who each came away with 10. The Huskies improve to 10-17, 7-15 NSIC. St. Cloud squeaked into the conference tournament as the no. 6 seed in the North Division with a UMary loss on Saturday. SCSU will face the no. 3 University of Sioux Falls in round one on Wednesday.
- The SCSU women's basketball team closed out the regular season with a 68-58 win over Crookston at home on Saturday. St. Cloud fell behind 33-23 by the break but rallied in the second half to win it. Jada Eggebrecht led all scorers with 22 points for SCSU. Ashley Sawicki added 15, and Jasmine Litt finished with 12. The Huskies improve to 17-9, 14-8 NSIC. St. Cloud has locked up the no. 2 seed in the NSIC North Division and will get a first-round bye in the tournament. The Huskies will face either SMSU or Crookston in round two at 1:30 p.m. on February 26th.
- The SJU basketball team locked up the no. 2 seed in the MIAC Tournament with an 81-52 win over Bethel in the final game of the regular season on Saturday. Kooper Vaughn led all scorers with 23 points for St. John's, while Ryan Thissen added 13, and Mitchell Plombon added 11. In addition to putting up a strong scoring performance, SJU also committed a season-low three turnovers in the win. The Johnnies improve to 16-9, 13-7 MIAC and will get a first-round bye in the conference tournament. The team will take the court when they host a semifinal matchup on Thursday at 7:00 p.m.
- The CSB hockey team beat St. Kate's 3-1 to earn the weekend split and clinch the no. 3 seed in the MIAC Tournament. The third-place regular season finish is the highest in program history. Morgan Cromwell, Presley Kraemer, and Sami Boerboom each scored one for St. Ben's. Ally Frantzick made 15 saves and allowed one goal in the win. The Bennies improve to 14-11 overall which ties the 2000-2001 record for most wins in a season. The team also set a new record for conference wins with an 11-7 MIAC finish. St. Ben's will face no. 2 Augsburg in a semifinals matchup in Minneapolis on Saturday. The Auggies swept the regular season series back in January but only won each game by a margin of one goal. Puck-drop for the postseason matchup is set for 2:00 p.m.
- The CSB basketball team topped Bethel 66-58 to secure the no. 4 seed in the MIAC Tournament in their regular season finale Saturday. Carla Meyer led all scorers with 17 points for St. Ben's, and Sophia Jonas added 13. The Bennies improve to 17-8, 14-8 MIAC and will host the no. 5 Royals in the quarterfinals on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m.
- The Norsemen held off a late push to beat Minot 4-2 and earn the weekend series split. Daniels Murnieks led all scorers with two goals for St. Cloud. Tomas Bolo made 32 saves and allowed two goals.
The Norsemen improve to 22-17-2-3 and remain in third place in the Central Division ahead of the Minotauros who are now 22-20-1-1. St. Cloud will face first-place Austin in a home-and-home series starting at 7:00 p.m. on Friday at the St. Cloud Municipal Athletic Complex.
- The no. 6 SCSU men's hockey team tied the University of North Dakota 2-2 on the road Saturday. The Fighting Hawks outshot the Huskies 30-13 in the matchup. Spencer Meier and Jami Krannila each lit the lamp once for St. Cloud. Jaxon Castor made 28 saves and allowed two goals. The Huskies are now 18-9-3 and 10-7-3 NCHC and will take on no. 15 Omaha at 7:00 p.m. Friday to kick off their final road series of the regular season.
- The Gopher men's basketball team dropped their ninth straight game in a 76-69 decision at home against Penn State. Dawson Garcia led Minnesota with 23 points, and Pharrel Payne added 18 points and 10 rebounds. The Gophers fall to 7-17, 1-13 B1G and will make up a postponed game on the road versus Illinois on Monday. Pre-game coverage starts at 7:30 p.m. on AM 1240 and 95.3 FM WJON.
- The Gopher women's basketball team lost their ninth road game of the season 76-62 to Northwestern on Saturday. Minnesota started strong but fizzled out as the game went on. Mara Braun led the Gophers with 12 points, and Katie Borowicz added 11. The Gophers drop to 10-17, 3-13 B1G and will open up the final week of the regular season with a road matchup against Michigan State at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday.
- The Lumberjacks fell 4-3 to Alexandria Saturday in OT to get swept up in the weekend series. Coby Weber, Zak Kennett, and Hayden Johnson each scored once for Granite City. Ryan Lehet made 27 saves and allowed four goals in the loss. The Jacks fall to 35-5-1-1 and will resume a postponed game against the Minnesota Loons at home on Wednesday. Granite City led 2-0 partway through the opening period before a spinal injury to Brett Robinson suspended the game in mid-January.
- The Wild (29-21-5) will look to earn back-to-back wins when they host the Predators (25-21-6) Sunday afternoon. Nashville beat Minnesota 2-1 back in November but has dropped two straight games. Pre-game coverage starts at 12:45 p.m. on AM 1390 and 93.9 FM Granite City Sports.