Cobbers Host MIAC Championship

Concordia will host the MIAC Championship Game for the first time since 1987 when they play St. Thomas on Saturday, Mar. 7 at 7:00.
Concordia will host the MIAC Championship Game for the first time since 1987 when they play St. Thomas on Saturday, Mar. 7 at 7:00.

MOORHEAD, Minn. (3/05/19)—Concordia will square off against St. Thomas in the semifinal game of the MIAC men's hockey playoff on Saturday, Feb. 29 at 7 p.m. at the Moorhead Sports Center. The Cobbers are making their eighth straight MIAC playoff appearance and ninth in the past 10 years.

Below you will find all the information you need to get ready for playoff hockey.

TICKET INFORMATION:  Ticket prices for all others are $10 for adults and $2 for any students (5 years old and younger are free). There is no senior discount. MIAC passes will be honored. No other passes will be accepted.

WHAT: MIAC Men's Hockey Championship Game

WHEN: Saturday, Mar. 7 at 7 p.m.

WHERE: Moorhead Sports Center – Moorhead, Minn.

TEAMS: No.4 Seed St. Thomas (14-10-3/9-6-1 MIAC) at No.2 Seed Concordia (14-10-2/10-5-1 MIAC)

LIVE LINKS:  Live Video | Live Stats

HOTTEST TEAMS IN THE MIAC:
The conference championship game features two teams who are both on a 4-game win streak.

MIAC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME DYK: Both teams like to play with the lead. Concordia and St. Thomas have scored the first goal in all of their playoffs games and neither team has trailed in the postseason. That also goes for the regular-season series where both winning teams scored first and never trailed.

The Cobbers have only come from behind to win on three occasions this year with the last being against Wis.-Eau Claire on Jan. 18. The Tommies have claimed a win when trailing in only four games and all four times it was only a 1-0 deficit.

Concordia is the only team to win when they have been down by more than one goal. That was also against Wis.-Eau Claire when they trailed 2-0 at home and won 3-2.   

HOW THEY GOT HERE
: Concordia never trailed in their semifinal game against Augsburg. The Cobbers scored the first goal of the game and then put up two straight in the second period after the Auggies had tied the game late in the opening frame. Parker Simonson doubled his goal total for the year as he scored the first and third goals for CC. Keaton Leininger got the second strike for the Cobbers. The Cobber defense locked down the Auggies in the third period. CC only allowed five shots on goal in the third period and senior goalie Jacob Stephan made 20 saves in the game to earn the win in goal. The victory was the first in the playoffs for the Cobbers since the 2017 season when they beat Hamline 3-2 in the semifinals.

St. Thomas had to take the long route to get to the title game. They were the No.4 seed for the tournament and hosted Gustavus in the lone quarterfinal game. The game against the Gusties was eerily similar to Concordia's semifinal win. UST scored the opening goal of the game, gave up the game-tying goal in the first and then scored twice in the second to grab a 3-1 lead and then held on for the 3-2 win. The Tommies outshot Gustavus 36-28 in the game. And like the Cobbers last Saturday, St. Thomas had one player score twice - including the game winner. Freshman Justin Kelley was the offensive start as he scored both goals in the second period. The game-winning goal on the power play at 16:42 of the second was his team-leading 10th of the year. Goalie Henry Baribeau made 26 saves to pick up the win.

The Tommies' 4-1 semifinal win over St. John's didn't have the drama of the quarterfinal game. The league's highest winning road team scored the first four goals of the game and cruised to the 3-goal win. St. Thomas scored a single goal in each of the first two periods and then put up two more on the board in the first seven minutes of the third to put the game out of reach. UST leading scorer Brett Gravelle scored the first two goals of the game including the game winner midway through the second frame. The Tommies were outshot 23-15 in the first two periods but held a 2-0 lead. The Johnnies went on to outshoot the Tommies 35-26 in the game. Baribeau picked up his second win of the playoffs with a 34-save performance.                

THE REGULAR SEASON
: For the second straight season Concordia finished with more than 30 points in the league standings. The Cobbers ended the regular season with a 10-5-1 mark in league play which was good for 32 points in the standings. Last year CC had 31 conference points and tied for third place but was the No.4 seed for the tournament. Concordia finished the MIAC by winning three straight games and going 8-2 against conference opponents since Jan. 1.

St. Thomas needed to sweep Augsburg in the final series of the regular season to be assured of a spot in the playoffs. They achieved that goal by posting a 5-3 win at Augsburg in the opener and then came back with a 5-4 win at home in the finale. Before that series the Tommies had only won twice in eight games. St. Thomas went 3-4-1 in MIAC play after the Christmas break before they started their 4-game win streak with the series sweep vs. Augsburg. The Tommies went 9-6-1 in the MIAC regular season and put up a league-best 56 goals in their 16 conference games.       

RECORDS VS. OTHER PLAYOFF TEAMS: Concordia went 4-3-1 against MIAC playoff teams in the regular season this year including a 1-1 record against St. Thomas in a series that took place on Dec. 6-7. The Tommies posted a similar 4-3-1 record against playoff teams in the regular season.

HOME AND AWAY: Concordia actually has a better record on the road then they do at home this season. The Cobbers' win over Augsburg in the semifinals pushed their record over the .500 mark at home (6-5-0). CC went 8-5-2 on the road. The Cobbers are 5-4-0 at home against MIAC teams and 7-6-0 in games played on a Saturday. St. Thomas was also better on the road in 2020. They went 9-4-2 on the road which included the win at SJU in the semifinals. The Tommies were under .500 at home at 5-6-1. UST was 6-2-1 in the regular season on the road against MIAC teams. St. Thomas is 8-4-1 in games played on a Saturday.      

PLAYOFF PEDIGREE: Concordia is appearing in its first MIAC championship game since 2011 and its fourth overall title game/series. They will face a familiar opponent in MIAC championship contests. The Cobbers have played St. Thomas in two of their previous three trips to the title game/series. CC has claimed the title on two occasions – 2000 and 1987. Both of those title wins came against St. Thomas.

Concordia is making its eighth consecutive playoff appearance and ninth in the past 10 seasons. It is the 16th overall spot in the league playoffs and CC is now 11-16-2 all-time in the conference playoffs which included two-game series back in the late 90's. Head Coach Chris Howe has made the conference postseason in nine of his 12 seasons at the helm of CC. The Cobbers are 3-8 in playoff games, 2-3 in semifinal games and 0-1 in championship games in the Howe era.

It will be the first home MIAC championship game for the Cobbers since the 1987 season when the league played a 2-game series in the playoffs. By coincidence, the Cobbers also hosted the Tommies that year and beat them 7-6 in the total goal series. CC is 3-4 all-time at home in the conference playoffs and 3-3-1 in all MIAC championship games.

St. Thomas is making its 24th trip to the MIAC championship – the most of any team in the league. The Tommies are 10-13 in their previous 23 appearances in the title game/series. St. Thomas was a mainstay of the conference championship for the first 10 years from 1987-1996. They played in all 10 title games/series. They missed the championship game in 1997 but then returned in 1998 and made 10 of the next 11 championship games.

The Tommies are making their league-best 34th trip to the MIAC playoffs they are now 45-31-3 in the conference postseason and have won 10 tournament titles. Their last appearance in the MIAC championship game was in 2017 when they lost 3-2 at home against Augsburg.  

PLAYOFF MATCH-UPS: This will be the seventh time the teams have faced each other in a MIAC tournament game/series. Both teams have won three times in the playoff series. It will be only the second time they have squared off in Moorhead. The last time came in the title series when Concordia won in 1987. They haven't played in a single-game championship but have played three times in the title series with the last coming in 2000. CC holds a 2-1 edge over UST in conference championship games/series.  The last three times the team have played in the playoffs have come in the semifinals and all three were at St. Thomas. UST won 2-1 in he 2001 semifinals while the Cobbers posted a 4-2 win on 2011 and UST claimed a 5-1 win in 2002.    

REGULAR SEASON MATCH-UP: The teams split their regular-season series in Moorhead on Dec. 6-7. The Cobbers won the opener 4-2 and then the Tommies claimed a 3-2 decision in the finale.

Concordia scored at least one goal in all three periods in the first game, never trailed and came away with the 2-goal win. CC scored twice in the first period before the Tommies mtied the game with a goal in the final minute of the first period and then one midway through the second. The Cobbers got the game-winning goal on the power play at the 18:36 mark of the second and then added an insurance goal at 18:34 of the third. The Tommies held a 31-18 edge in shots on goal but Cobber goalie Jacob Stephan stood tall and turned aside 29 of the 31 UST shots.

St. Thomas returned the favor in the second game as they scored a single goal in all three periods, never trailed and earned the 1-goal victory. They scored on the power play midway though the first, added a second power play goal in the fourth minute of the second before the Cobbers tied the game with a goal in the second and one in the fourth minute of the third. Broydon Stotko got the game-winning goal for UST just 1:27 after CC had tied the score at 2-2.

The Tommies held a slight 36-34 edge in shots in Game 2 and goalie Henry Baribeau made 32 saves to earn the win.

Stephan played in goal in both games for Concordia while Camden Burggrabe started the opener for the Tommies. 

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING: How each team ranks in the MIAC for conference games only.

Stat Category Concordia St. Thomas  
Goals For 6th (42) 1st (56)  
Goals Against T1st (35) 5th (45)  
Penalty Minutes 6th (189) 2nd (161)  
Power Play 8th (12.7%) 5th (23.2%)  
Penalty Kill 7th (78.6%) 8th (75.5%)       
Special Teams Net      7th (-7) 5th (+3)  
                                  

STAT STARS: For the second straight season Concordia is led by junior All-American Tyler Bossert. Last year Bossert led the MIAC in scoring in conference games with 24 points. He backed that up with a 16-point season this year. Bossert was tied for third in assists with 12 in 16 MIAC games. Senior Aaron Herdt led the Cobbers in goals scored with seven goals. He finished with 12 total points which was tied for 15th in the league. Herdt was second in the league in game-winning goals with three. Herdt had
four total game-winning goals this year and has 10 game winners in the past two seasons.

St. Thomas didn't have a player in the Top 10 in the MIAC in scoring in league games. Senior John Peterson was tied for 11th with six goals and seven assists for 13 points. Brett Gravelle was right behind with two goals and 10 assists for 12 points. Gravelle's 10 helpers were tied for ninth best in the MIAC.   
Freshman Jack Vincent was tied for fourth in the conference in power play goals with three while Phil Fromberger was the top scoring UST defenseman with eight points – all on assists.

Cobber starting goalie Jacob Stephan leads the MIAC in all three goaltending categories. He has a 1.63 goals against average in the 11 conference games he played. He also posted a 93.8% save percentage and went 8-2-1 for a 77.3% winning percentage in league play.

St. Thomas freshman Henry Baribeau has been in goal for both of the playoff games and finished the conference season by playing in only five games and had a 2.63 GAA and was 3-1-1. Sophomore Camden Burggrabe started 12 league games and  went 6-4-0 with a 2.78 GAA. Baribeau has had the hot hand in recent form as he has won three straight games and only lost once in his six games since the Christmas break.