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Whoa Nellie! Green Knights Win Frozen Four Double-Overtime Thriller Over UMass-Boston

From Sports Information Director, March 25, 2016 | Men's Hockey
by Dan Lukes, dan.lukes@snc.edu, (920) 403-4077

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- It may not have been the best game in NCAA Division III Frozen Four history, but it was quite likely the wildest.

St. Norbert College rallied from a three-goal first period deficit to lead by four goals through the first two periods, only to have UMass-Boston force overtime before the Green Knights claimed a wild 8-7 double-overtime win in a national semifinal game at Herb Brooks Arena.

Noah Nelson's breakaway goal at the 3 minutes 49 seconds mark of the second extra session sent the Green Knights (25-3-2) to the national championship game against UW-Stevens Point at 7 p.m. EDT Saturday. Both teams are looking for their fifth national title. St. Norbert is hunting for its fifth national title in the last nine years, while the Pointers are vying for their first national crown since 1993.

UMass-Boston's defensemen both went well into the neutral zone below the red line. Steven Phillips' pass found a wide open Nelson, who was just coming onto the ice during a line change. Nelson walked in on Beacons' goaltender Zach Andrews, who stopped Nelson's initial shot. However, the rebound bounced off Nelson's shin pad and redirected the puck across the goal line to set off a joyful St. Norbert celebration.

Nelson's goal was necessary after a bizarre third period that saw a 7-3 St. Norbert lead after two periods melt away. The Beacons got a goal from John Bonno at 2:11, but St. Norbert held a 7-4 lead for the next 11 minutes. Matt Lemire then scored at 13:33 to cut the deficit to 7-5. UMass-Boston then registered a power-play goal by Brett Mason at 15:42. The Beacons came all the way back on a Tyler Bishop goal with 1:18 remaining in regulation time off a shot from high out front.

UMass-Boston's rally was the second huge rally of the game, as St. Norbert outscored the Beacons 6-0 in the second period. Blake Thompson scored the first two goals of the second period, both coming on power-play opportunities at 3:29 and 8:15. Erik Cooper then finished off a scoring chance off a Beacons' turnover for an unassisted goal at 11:54 to bring the Green Knights to within 5-4. Tyler Andrews then chose an opportune time for his first collegiate goal with a drive from the high point at 15:27.

Pijus Rulevicius added two goals in the final minute of the second period to complete the onslaught. Rulevicius scored a power-play goal at 19:05 and followed with a puck that trickled past the goal line at 19:53. St. Norbert was 3-for-3 on the power play in the second period.

UMass-Boston had all the momentum early, scoring just 1 minute 4 seconds into the game on a goal by Derek Colucci from right out front. The Beacons kept the offensive pressure on getting another goal at 3:35, this one an unassisted marker from Frankie DeAugstine. Matt Lemire gave UMass-Boston a 3-0 lead at 6:48 with a power-play goal.

St. Norbert got a goal with 0.7 seconds remaining in the period when Phillips finished off a scramble in front of the Beacons' net with an unassisted goal to give the Green Knights some much-needed momentum.

Cooper had two assists to finish with a three-point game. Phillips, Andrews and Nelson also had assists to finish with two-point games along with Thompson and Rulevicius.

St. Norbert outshot UMass-Boston by a 51-39 margin. T.J. Black made 29 saves in just over 80 minutes of relief for the Green Knights. UMass-Boston starter Billy Faust made 20 saves in 40 minutes of work, while Zach Andrews made 23 stops of the 24 shots he faced in 43:49 of action.

St. Norbert was 3-for-6 on the power play while UMass-Boston was 2-for-4.