St. Norbert Advances to Sixth NCAA Division III Frozen Four With Hard-Fought Win Over Gustavus Adolphus

From Sports Information Director, March 13, 2010 | Men's Hockey
by Dan Lukes, dan.lukes@snc.edu, (920) 403-4077

GREEN BAY - St. Norbert College survived perhaps its toughest challenge of the 2009-10 season when it posted a gritty 3-1 win over Gustavus Adolphus College in a quarterfinal game of the 2010 NCAA Division III Men's Ice Hockey Tournament at the Cornerstone Community Center.

The Green Knights, who held a 2-1 lead through most of the last two periods before getting an empty-net goal with 1 minute left, returns to Lake Placid, N.Y., and Herb Brooks Arena where they won the 2008 national title. St. Norbert (23-3-3) will face Oswego State Univ. (26-2) in a national semifinal Friday, March 19.

St. Norbert, which earned the 400th win in program history with the triumph, got the jump right away by getting a marker from Shane Wheeler 1 minute 36 seconds into the game. Wheeler scored on a wrister from the doorstep off assists from Kurt Astle and Tyler Allen. Gustavus Adolphus (20-7-2), last year's national runner-up, squared the game at the 10:55 mark of the first on a goal by James Leathers from the left circle.

The Green Knights would answer with 12 seconds left in the period, when Tyler Allen pushed home a loose puck for his team-high 14th goal of the year. Wheeler and Cody Keefer picked up assists on the score.

Neither team scored in a second period that featured plenty of end-to-end action. Both teams kept each other bottle up for most of the third until the Gusties made a last-ditch effort to tie the game. Gustavus' Matt Schugel rang the crossbar with about two minutes left for its best scoring chance late.

Following a St. Norbert icing and a Gustavus timeout with 1:15 left, the Green Knights were able to poke the puck out of the defensive zone. Brandon Longley's diving shot from the right wall found its way past a pair of Gustavus defenders and curled inside the far post for an empty-net goal to seal the win with 1 minute left.

St. Norbert held a 25-18 advantage in shots on goal. B.J. O'Brien made 17 saves for the Green Knights, while Josh Swartout made 22 stops for the Gusties. Both teams had three minor penalties and were also 0-for-1 on the power play.

St. Norbert's Frozen Four appearance joins the 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2008 seasons. Besides the 2008 national title, the Green Knights played in the national championship game in 2004 and 2006.