An automatic bid to the NCAA tournament will be on the line when Augsburg's men's hockey team plays host to St. John's in the MIAC tournament championship at 7 p.m. Saturday at Ed Saugestad Rink. The Auggies also will try to win an unprecedented fourth consecutive conference tourney crown.
Augsburg (20-3-3) enters the game as the No. 7-ranked team in the U.S. College Hockey Online poll and carries a seven-game unbeaten streak. The Auggies whipped St. Mary's 8-1 in the MIAC semifinals last week, with Luke Dietsch notching a hat trick and Alex Rodriguez contributing two goals and an assist. Austin Dollimer added four assists.
Rodriguez, a senior from Miami and a transfer from Division I RPI, leads the Auggies with 37 points on 20 goals and 17 assists. His goal total leads the MIAC and is tied for fifth nationally. In goal, senior Nick Schmit has a 15-2-3 record with a 2.05 goals-against average and .926 save percentage.
St. John's (12-9-5) finished second to Augsburg in the MIAC regular-season standings before beating St. Thomas 4-1 in the conference semifinals. Sean Lang and Evan Okeley both scored two goals for the Johnnies against the Tommies. Brady Heppner (15-9—24) and Kyle Wagner (4-20—24) lead St. John's in scoring, while Andrew Lindgren (9-5-4, 2.02 GAA, .933 save percentage) starts in goal.
The teams played one series this season. They tied 2-2 on Jan. 31, with St. John's winning in a shootout for the extra point in the conference standings. The next night, Augsburg won 5-1.
For a preview of the MIAC wome's title game between St. Thomas and Hamline, see Rachel Blount's Women's Hockey Weekend blog.