By Joey Peterson —
The Blue Devils recently finished off a successful season with no lack of highlights, finishing with a 10-13-6 overall record. Topping the list of accomplishments would be their dramatic victory over the University of Wisconsin–Superior in the first round of the conference tournament.
After the University of Wisconsin–Stout won the first game by a 3-2 score, UW–Superior evened the score with a 5-3 victory the following night, which set the stage for a game three. “A mini-game against Superior to see who was going to move on to the conference semi-finals,” said Tom Schmidt (Fr. Alexandria, Minn.). “It was crazy because your season comes down to one really intense period of hockey.”
Stout went on to win the mini-game 3-2. Schmidt scored the first goal, and Craig Lindegard (Jr. Hallock, Minn.) added the last two goals, sending the Blue Devils to the conference semifinals.
The season would end with a 3-1 defeat and 1-1 tie to the University of Wisconsin–River Falls. “The last game of the season we tied and needed to win to move on,” said Justin Moody (Jr. Grand Forks, N.D.) “I think it will be a lot of motivation for us next year.”
In addition to the success in the conference tournament, Stout also experienced tremendous success in the non-conference portion of the schedule. “The most memorable part of this season was us going 7-1-2 against the MIAC (Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) schools,” said Spencer Viele (Jr. Wildwood, Mo.).
One of those highlights would include the game against Gustavus Adolphus. “Joe Anderson (Fr. Side Lake, Minn.) put the team on his back and scored a hat trick in a come behind win,” said Jordan Stejskal (So. Grand Rapids, Minn.). Stout would go on to win 5-3.
Additionally, the Blue Devils got some substantial victories over some top competition. “We swept St. Thomas and St. Mary’s,” said Viele. “At the time, both of those teams were in the top of the standings in the MIAC.” Both victories came on the road, and were won in impressive fashion by scores of 5-3 and 6-3.
During the conference schedule, the Blue Devils finished with a 1-6-1 record. An impressive 6-2 victory over UW–Superior and a hard fought 2-2 tie against the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire highlighted the conference portion of the schedule. “We tied them (Eau Claire) but felt we should have won,” said Joe Kleven (Fr. Shakopee, Minn.).
“It was probably our best all-around game as a team this year and the atmosphere at their arena made it a fun place to play that night,” said Schmidt.
Playing hockey in college provides its challenges, but is also rewarding. “It’s an opportunity to not only help improve your game, but you get to keep playing the game you love at a very competitive level for another four years,” said Viele.
A few of the players pointed out their favorite parts about playing collegiate hockey, such as “Having a group of guys on campus you are instantly connected with,” said Kleven. In addition, “It’s a lot of fun being with the guys everyday,” said Moody.
Every season has its triumphs as well as its defeats, however, it makes the experience that much more special. “We go through a lot of ups and downs during the course of a season,” said Stejskal. “It’s cool to share the experience with the guys on the team.”