By St.Norbert College Athletic Department
Finis coronat opus.
The end certainly crowned the work for the 2017-18 St. Norbert College hockey team when the Green Knights claimed their fifth NCAA Division III national championship with a hard-fought 3-2 double-overtime win over Salve Regina University at Herb Brooks Arena. St. Norbert junior Brad Pung scored at 9:42 of double overtime to lift the Green Knights to their fifth national title in 11 seasons.
St. Norbert (27-4-1) finished the season with an impressive 12-game winning streak to cap off a memorable run for the roses. The Green Knights – who also won national championships in 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2014 – are now 22-4 in their last 26 NCAA Tournament games. The 2008 and 2012 national championships also came in Lake Placid.
The Green Knights took home the gold when Pung’s wrister cleanly beat Salve Regina goaltender Blake Wojtala. Senior captain Tanner Froese came up the far wall and dropped the puck to Pung, who was unimpeded coming down the right slot. Pung’s shot rifled past the goal line to set off a wild on-ice celebration.
St. Norbert scored the game’s first two goals, both coming on the power play. Froese found Dominick Sacco coming down the slot on a power-play opportunity for a 1-0 lead with 18:31 elapsed in the first period.
The Green Knights added to their lead when the Seahawks were assessed a major boarding penalty. St. Norbert took advantage when Luke Davison’s shot from the point bounced Wojtala’s water bottle off the top of the cage at the 12:25 mark. Salve Regina quickly got back in the game however when Cameron Russo scored shorthanded 65 seconds later. St. Norbert took a 2-1 lead into second intermission despite holding a 15-4 advantage in shot in the second period.
The Seahawks (22-6-2) tied the game midway through the third period, when Paul Boutoussov banged home a rebound at 10:35.
Salve Regina would outshoot St. Norbert 14-9 in the first overtime, but the Green Knights would have an 8-3 edge in the second extra session. St. Norbert held a 50-43 edge on shot on goal for the game.
Froese assisted on all three St. Norbert goals and was named the Most Outstanding layer of the tournament. Peter Bates also had a multi-point game with two assists.
In addition to Froese being named the Most Outstanding Player, Sacco and Davison were also named to the All-Tournament Team.
Black turned away 41 saves for St. Norbert, including several difficult saves in the first period. Black stopped 29 of the 30 shots he faced in the third period and two overtime sessions. Wojtala made 47 stops for the Seahawks.