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Warriors sweep No. 6 Blue Demons

waldorf-warriors-outline_1By Aaron Schneider

ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill. – The Waldorf College hockey team completed a series sweep over DePaul University with a 4-2 victory on Saturday.

It was the first series since early December for the Warriors (17-9), who returned from holiday break and are ranked No. 10 in the latest American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) Division II Central Region poll.

“It’s a good start to the semester,” Waldorf coach Brett Shelanski said. “Sweeping on the road is incredibly difficult, especially against a team of that caliber.”

Senior Jacob Bales scored two goals to boost the Warriors while senior Jake Taylor and sophomore Jeffrey Bartel also tallied goals to bring down the No. 6 Blue Demons (18-8-1).

DePaul received goals from Mickey DiPietro and Benjamin Kohen.

Three minutes into the first period, Bartel put Waldorf on the scoreboard as he put the puck in the back of the net off a pass from junior Alex Fleming.

The Blue Demons found themselves on a power play during the ninth minute and DiPietro capitalized on the advantage to even the score at 1-all following an assist from Thomas Feldman.

Bales put the Warriors back on top in the 12th minute as he notched a goal with sophomores Buddy Napier and Drew Soderberg contributing assists.

Kohen knotted the score at 2-all 12 minutes into the second period as Kenny Shemanske found him for the equalizer.

The score remained even for more than 20 minutes. Bales delivered the game-winning goal with 7 minutes, 18 seconds remaining in the third period. Napier provided his second assist of the day.

Waldorf received an insurance goal with 1:16 left in the game as Taylor scored on a 6-on-4 empty-net situation. Sophomore goaltender Ronald Paulson tallied the assist.

The Blue Demons narrowly outshot the Warriors by a 28-27 margin.

Paulson recorded 26 saves for Waldorf while DePaul’s Jon Claxton saved 23 of the 26 shots he faced.

The ups and downs of the series between the two regional powers didn’t stifle the Warriors.

“We responded well to both success and adversity during the weekend and we were able to stay the course with what we were trying to accomplish,” Shelanski said.

Waldorf returns to Northern Collegiate Hockey League (NCHL) play next weekend against Northern Michigan University (3-18, 2-7) in Marquette, Michigan. The two teams hit the ice on Friday at 9 p.m. and Saturday at 12 p.m.

“It doesn’t get any easier for us moving forward so we have to keep the same level of commitment to working and preparing every week,” Shelanski said.

The remaining regular-season schedule pits the Warriors against tough opponents. They conclude NCHL play against No. 7 Robert Morris University (17-9, 5-2) on Jan. 29-30. Waldorf wraps up the regular season on Feb. 6-7 against No. 3 Lindenwood University (16-7). Both series will be held at Albert Lea, Minnesota.

A two-game series with DePaul was the perfect tune-up for a team returning to action for the first time in more than a month and looking to make a postseason push.

“Every game from here on out is essentially a playoff game for us,” Shelanski said. “It was good to compete at that intensity this weekend and be successful.”