The University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point men’s hockey team won game one against St. Norbert 5-1 at home on Friday thanks to a hat trick from sophomore forward Kyle Heck. The following night, the Green Knights got redemption as they handed the Pointers a 4-1 loss.
St. Norbert, the number one seed in Division III hockey, fell behind early in game one after Heck scored his first goal in the first period. The goal came in a double assist effort from sophomore forward Kyle Politz and sophomore defender Tyler Krueger.
"We did what our coach told us to do and it worked for us," said Heck, who is this week’s Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Athlete of the Week. "If it wasn’t for my teammates I wouldn’t have got (the award)."
A turnover by St. Norbert led to Heck’s second goal of the first period, giving Point a 2-0 advantage over the Green Knights.
Point found themselves short-handed, allowing St. Norbert the chance for a comeback. Green Knights freshman forward Cullen Bradshaw found the back of the net on a power play in the second period, bringing them within one goal.
At the end of the second period, junior defender Sean McNeely tapped in a goal off a rebound, giving the Pointers a 3-1 advantage.
"We want to be a team that is difficult to play against," first-year Head Coach Chris Brooks said. "We want to be a team that plays with passion."
The third period was all Pointers. Junior forward Nick Kenney sank a goal assisted by sophomore forward Max Bobrow. Junior forward Johnny Meo followed that goal with an assist to Heck for his hat trick, sealing the 5-1 victory.
"The system we are running is more complicated," said Heck, referring to the change in coaching scheme. "You have to work on it every day… He really knows his stuff and we really like that about him."
The second game of the series took place in De Pere, Wisconsin, at the Green Knights’ home arena. The first goal for St. Norbert came within 10 minutes of the opening period when senior forward Johan Ryd scored, giving the Green Knights a 1-0 advantage.
After one period and a one-goal deficit, Coach Brooks was optimistic about Point’s chances in game two. Following the first, however, St. Norbert showed they weren’t going to let Point steal the series.
St. Norberts’ Cullen Bradshaw struck net for the second night in a row, giving the Green Knights a 2-0 lead. Less than a minute later sophomore forward Emil Haque scored his first goal of the season, extending the lead to 3-0.
Point finally scored on a goal by junior defender Brandon Busse in the second period, eliminating the shutout. However, in the third period junior forward Kyle Stroh scored for the Green Knights, putting them on top by the deciding 4-1 margin.
"We took too many penalties in their building," said Coach Brooks. "We need to pay attention to detail... play to our identity."
Coach Brooks came to UWSP from the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees out of Texas and is only the fifth coach in Pointer hockey history.
Junior goalkeeper Nick Graves saved 20 of the 21 shots in the first game and 24 of the Green Knights’ 28 shots in the second. Point is now 1-2 overall and 1-1 in Northern Collegiate Hockey Association play.
The next game for the Pointers is Friday, Nov. 4 at 7:00 p.m. against Augsburg at Willet Arena.