By St. Norbert College Athletic Department
St. Norbert College scored two goals in the first three minutes of the game and used that as the impetus to a 4-3 win over Colby College in a NCAA Division III Frozen Four semifinal at Herb Brooks Arena.
The Green Knights (26-4-1) will face Salve Regina University (22-5-2) at 7 p.m. EDT Saturday for the national championship. St. Norbert will be playing in its ninth NCAA national championship game, tying Middlebury College for most in Division III history. The Green Knights are 4-4 in previous national title games, while the Seahawks are playing in the first championship game. Salve Regina beat UW-Stevens Point 3-0 in the other semifinal.
St. Norbert is 21-4 in its last 25 NCAA Tournament games, and its nine national title game appearances have all come in the last 15 seasons.
St. Norbert took control early, scoring just 1:28 into the game when Roman Uchyn scored from directly out front for his ninth goal of the season. The Green Knights added to their lead when Dominick Sacco’s shot shorthopped and handcuffed Colby goaltender Sean Lawrence for a 2-0 edge just 2:35 into the game. St. Norbert would take a 3-0 lead at 11:33 of the first period on Tanner Froese’s goal.
Colby (17-11-2) would push back in the second period, scoring at 15:04 on a rebound goal by J.P. Schuhlen. The Mules would make things tight moments later, when Cam MacDonald scored a power-play goal at the 17:56 mark to cut it to 3-2. The Green Knights found themselves in dire straits when Uchyn was fingered for an interference penalty at 18:38. St. Norbert would wrest momentum back its way when Froese got loose on a shorthanded attempt and beat Lawrence just inside the near post for a 4-2 lead with 35 seconds left in the period. It was Froese’s team-high 14th goal of the season.
St. Norbert would keep the Mules at bay for most of the third period until Justin Grillo’s scored a goal off a redirected puck off a Green Knights’ defenseman to trim their deficit to 4-3 with 5:52 remaining. Colby would have an extra attacker on for the final 56 seconds of the game, and nearly tied the game on a shot with 40 seconds left but T.J. Black smothered the puck in time. St. Norbert’s defense closed out the win the rest of the way.
St. Norbert outshot Colby 47-43 in a contest featuring end-to-end action for most of the game on an Olympic-sized ice sheet. Black made 40 saves for the Green Knights, and set a St. Norbert season record with his 26th win. Lawrence made 43 stops for the Mules.
Colby was 1-for-4 on the power play, while St. Norbert was 0-for-2.