Photos: Alyssa Noble
Four years ago, head coach Kirk Artist finished up his first recruiting class at Wartburg College. Four years and 43 wins later, the class of seven was recognized on Senior Night against Buena Vista.
“Between all of them, they all have something to give to the program,” Artist said. “It’s a big testament to them for buying in to what we were doing and then pushing themselves to be able to get to this level.”
Two seniors scored for the No. 23 Knights as they shut out the Beavers 5-0.
“It was a good team effort there, we knocked it around, we had some fun with it and we were able to get all the seniors on there at once so that was a good time,” Artist said.
Wartburg got on the board early with an unassisted goal from Paris Martins in the third minute of action. Then in the 14th minute, Zubeen Azari struck the back of the net off a Dan Nadeau assist.
Then it was the seniors’ turn. In the 39th minute, Zach Smith snuck the ball past the outstretched arms of the keeper to put the Knights up 3-0.
In the second, Nadeau added to his team-high goals with his 12th of the season in the 59th minute, deflecting Martins’ shot into the back of the net.
Freshman Tanner Hanks recorded Wartburg’s fifth and final goal in the 72nd minute, unassisted, as the Knights improved to 11-3-4 overall and 5-1-1 in conference play.
The Knights out-shot Buena Vista 21-1 and had seven shots on goal.
“Tonight was a really special night,” Nadeau said. “Just a great end to our careers, hopefully we can keep going a little longer here, though.”
With the win, the Knights clinch the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye in the IIAC tournament. They will host the winner of Central and Luther in the semifinals.
“We’ve got to win a conference championship to get into the NCAA tournament, so that’s what we’re focused on right now,” Nadeau said.
Video: Jake Pippin
Tuesday’s IIAC Scores
No. 8 Loras 9, Coe 0
No. 14 Luther 4, Dubuque 3 (2OT)
Simpson 7, Central 3
No. 23 Wartburg 5, Buena Vista 0
Final IIAC Standings
Buena Vista (0-7-0)
Quarterfinals — Sat., Nov. 1
3 p.m. — Simpson @ Dubuque
5 p.m. — Central @ Luther
Semifinals — Wed., Nov. 5
7 p.m. — Simpson/Dubuque Winner @ Loras
7 p.m. — Central/Luther Winner @ Wartburg
Championship — Sat., Nov. 8