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Waldorf rebounds, dominates No. 7 Robert Morris

waldorf-warriors-outline_1By Matt Oliver

ALBERT LEA, Minn. – The Waldorf College hockey team bounced back in dominant fashion, powering to a 7-0 victory over Robert Morris University during Saturday’s Northern Collegiate Hockey League (NCHL) contest.
Entering the night ranked No. 10 in the latest American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) Division II Central Region poll, the Warriors (19-11, 9-5) turned in a balanced attack to salvage a series split with the No. 7 Eagles (21-10-1, 8-3). Seniors Jacob Bales, Reed Loucks, juniors Spencer Johnson, Artem Savelyev, Alex Fleming, freshmen Ryan Veillet and Cameron Batchelor scored goals in the shutout.
“It was a true team win with everybody contributing,” Waldorf coach Brett Shelanski said. “We had seven different goal scorers and we need to have everybody chipping in like that to reach our potential here in the second half of the season.”
Twelve players registered points for the Warriors. Fleming led the way with three points while senior Jeffrey Bartel, sophomore Drew Soderberg, Bales and Savelyev tallied two points apiece.
Bales delivered the first goal of the game, scoring seven minutes into the opening period following assists from Soderberg and sophomore Buddy Napier.
Waldorf, which outshot Robert Morris 42-18 and by a 25-6 margin in the second period alone, cranked up the intensity with five second-period goals.
Johnson sparked the offensive onslaught for the Warriors, converting on a power play during the seventh minute of the second period. Savelyev and Fleming contributed assists.
Two minutes later, Savelyev found the back of the net on a power play. Freshman Robert Danyo and Fleming assisted on the score, boosting Waldorf to a 3-0 lead.
Veillet notched a goal less than two minutes later receiving assists from Soderberg and Bartel. It was the 12th goal of the season for the Langley, British Columbia native, who is second for the Warriors with 26 points on the season.
Batchelor connected for Waldorf’s fifth goal in the 13th minute of the second period courtesy of an assist from Bales.
Loucks gave the Warriors a commanding 6-0 lead, scoring on a power play in the 16th minute of the second period while sophomore Matthew Liggett provided the assist. Bartel and Loucks currently lead Waldorf with 16 goals apiece this season.
Fleming tacked on the final goal with three minutes remaining in the game. Bartel, who tops the team with 27 points on the year, was credited with his second assist.
The Warriors converted on three of their four power plays in the win and killed all three of the Eagles’ power-play opportunities.
Waldorf’s Ronald Paulson recorded his fourth shutout of the season, collecting 18 saves on the night. The sophomore goaltender from Wainwright, Alberta has racked up 549 saves and is sporting a .910 save percentage this season.
Robert Morris’ Mike Czupryn stopped 29 of the 35 shots he faced. John Floro finished with six saves on seven shots faced in a relief appearance for the Eagles, who shared last season’s NCHL regular-season crown with the Warriors and fell to Waldorf in the inaugural NCHL Tournament title game.
With the win, the Warriors wrap up NCHL regular-season play and currently sit in second place in the conference standings with 29 points.
Waldorf closes out the regular season next weekend, hosting No. 3 Lindenwood University (13-13) at Albert Lea City Arena. Game times are 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday.
Maintaining a steady attack is a priority for the Warriors, who look to repeat as NCHL Tournament champions in February and also punch their ticket for the ACHA Division II Central Regional Tournament.
“We need to keep working now to be consistent in our play every night heading into our final series of the season and playoffs,” Shelanski said.