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Warriors fall to Eagles in NCHL Tournament semifinal

waldorf-warriors-outline_1By Aaron Schneider

MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Waldorf College hockey team fell in a 2-1 loss to Robert Morris University during Saturday’s Northern Collegiate Hockey League (NCHL) Tournament semifinal.
It was a rematch of last year’s NCHL Tournament championship, which ended with the Warriors hoisting the Philip E. Schroeder Memorial Trophy following a 3-1 victory on their home ice at Albert Lea, Minnesota.
Waldorf (20-14), which is ranked No. 10 in the latest American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) Division II Central Region poll, split this year’s regular-season series with the No. 7 Eagles (24-10) just two weeks ago and expected to see the same amount of intensity this time around.
Sophomore Drew Soderberg scored the lone goal for the Warriors while junior Alex Fleming provided an assist.
Robert Morris received goals from Dominick Rovito and Jordan DeYoung. Alex Strack, Jack Warren and Vito Bruno each tallied assists.
Waldorf was not afraid to be aggressive on offense, outshooting the Eagles by a 51-16 margin. Robert Morris’ Andy Poetzinger racked up 50 saves while Waldorf sophomore Ronald Paulson finished the night with 14 saves.
DeYoung put the Eagles on the scoreboard during the 13th minute of the first period off a pass from Warren.
Robert Morris claimed a two-goal advantage as Rovito notched the game-winning goal two minutes into the second period with the help of Bruno and Strack.
Soderberg took a pass from Fleming and found the back of the net with less than three minutes remaining in the second period to pull the Warriors within one goal. Strong defense and skillful goaltending guided the Eagles past Waldorf’s attack for the remainder of the contest.
After winning last year’s inaugural NCHL Tournament title, the Warriors knew it would be a battle to retain the Philip E. Schroeder Memorial Trophy, also known as the Hap Cup.
Eighth-ranked Lewis University (20-7) joined the league this year and won the regular-season conference championship. Lewis, which earned the NCHL Tournament’s top seed, was upset by No. 12 University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh (17-6) as the Titans prevailed in a 5-4 double-overtime victory during Saturday’s first semifinal. Robert Morris and UW-Oshkosh will face off in Sunday’s NCHL Tournament championship game.
Waldorf has qualified for the ACHA Division II Central Region Tournament the past two seasons and now waits to learn if it will receive a third consecutive regional bid. The regional tournament is set for Feb. 27-28 at Rolling Meadows, Illinois.