Lions hockey teams get a breather after tough series against St. Norbert

Photo courtesy of Finlandia University Finlandia’s Laney Pasemko (37) gathers up a puck during a game at the Houghton County Arena in Hancock earlier this season. Aspen Wallin (14) looks on in support. (Photo courtesy of Finlandia University)

HANCOCK — In a rare experience for both the men’s and women’s hockey teams, both Finlandia Lions teams faced the St. Norbert Green Knights last weekend in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Neither team was able to come away with a victory on the weekend, however, both groups had a chance to learn some very valuable lessons.

The men dropped their game Friday, 7-0, before playing a much better game Saturday, falling 3-1.

The women dropped their Friday night game 6-0 and their Saturday game 8-0, before heading to Northland College and losing 3-0.

Meyer has strong performance

Men’s coach Joe Burcar challenged his goaltenders after a pair of losses at Aurora to be better, and sophomore Dakota Meyer had a strong weekend against the Green Knights. On Friday, he stopped 35 shots in the loss. Saturday, he made 39 saves and did not give up a third goal until the Green Knights had a power play early in the third period.

For the Lions to succeed in the coming weekends, they will need one of their goaltenders to take the reins and produce a repeatable effort both nights in a given weekend. Meyer did just that on Saturday, giving the Lions a chance to battle back in the late stages of the contest.

Messier finds the net

Burcar and the Lions’ coaching staff have been waiting for sophomore forward Max Messier to get going. As a freshman, he had five goals and eight points in 23 games. One of those five goals was a game-winning tally.

This season, he was held off the scoresheet the first three games, but now has a goal and two assists in the past three contests.

“We need max to get going,” said Burcar in an interview prior to the St. Norbert series. “We really do.”

Burcar remains positive

Despite falling to 0-6-1 on the season, record-wise, Burcar feels that he is seeing growth within his group.

“You have to stay disciplined on what you’re doing,” he said. “So I think after Aurora, and the five games we played (prior to last weekend), it’s just such a learning tool, which is good about this group.

“You know, I just think they’re taking it in. They’re showing signs of what they can do, which is great. At the same time, if they take their foot off the gas, this is what’s gonna happen to you.”

Pasemko has strong weekend

Sophomore Laney Pasemko appears to be taking charge of the Lions’ women’s team’s net. On Friday, she made 52 saves in the loss. In relief of freshman Lexi Holman on Saturday, she made another 49 saves over the game’s final 54:23. Monday, she made another 50 in the loss to Northland, including 19 in the middle frame alone.

However, she needs help. The Lions had just three shots on goal Friday at St. Norbert. Saturday was only slightly better at five shots. Against Northland, they had 13, including six in the first period.

A weekend off

Kuruc has been waiting for a chance like this weekend to give his team a chance to collect itself and, hopefully, right the ship. There is a lot of learning his team needs to absorb quickly if they want to reverse their 0-9 start in any meaningful way.

To make matters worse, they will host Lake Forest when they come back from Thanksgiving break. The Foresters are 2-3-1 overall and 0-1-1 in NCHA play to this point, after losing to Aurora on Friday and tying on Saturday.


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