After splitting a recent match with No. 3 ranked University of Wisconsin-River Falls, the Pointers hockey team is ready for the rest of the season.
The Pointers faced UW-River Falls for the first of two game series on Jan. 16. With less than a minute left in play, Kyle Brodie scored the only goal of the game to lead the team to victory.
“That Friday night was a good hockey game,” said head coach Chris Brooks. “Two teams battled to the finish, and we managed to get the late power play good to win the game.”
The following day, the Pointers lost the second half of the series when UW-River Falls broke the 1-1 tie and pulled away for a 4-2 win.
“The second night we were more offensive than Friday and had more scoring chances,” Brooks said. “We just didn’t capitalize on all those chances.”
Junior captain Evan Dixon is excited to see the team learn from those games and use them to improve.
“River Falls is a good team, but splitting isn’t where we want to be,” Dixon said. “We’re going to beat them when we see them in a few weeks and continue to grow as we get closer to the tournament.”
In its most recent games against UW-Superior, the Pointers came home with a pair of victories. These victories are just one step toward the team’s national goal.
Last season, the Pointers lost to St. Norbert in its final match of the year to become second in the nation. However, with such a small conference, every victory is important if the Pointers want to see the national tournament again.
“Every game is a huge game, and we have to be at our best every day as we head toward that final tournament,” Dixon said.
The Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference is not big enough for the conference champion to receive an automatic bid to nationals. Only the best teams are selected for the tournament. Factors such as a head-to-head record and strength of schedule will be taken into account.
“We got a bid last year, and the key factor may have been record against UW-Eau Claire who was also under consideration,” Brooks said.
Dixon said he wants to see the team put in quality time.
“We have to show up every day with a purpose and work extra hard,” Dixon said. “We have to pay attention to the little things every day, on and off the ice.”
Brooks wants the team to be successful and to see the senior class step up.
“All of our seniors have played a big part in success since I started four years ago,” Brooks said.
Dixon said that there is always room for improvement. With small changes and a little extra effort the team will get where it needs to be.
There is still some time left in the season as the Pointers look toward the national tournament.
“We’re one-third of the way done with regular season play,” Brooks said. “We’re tied for the conference title and working on improving every day.”