St. Norbert Falls to Norwich for NCAA Division III Championship in Double-Overtime Marathon
From Sports Information Director, March 20, 2010 | Men's Hockey
by Dan Lukes, firstname.lastname@example.org, (920) 403-4077
Despite not playing on the winning team, O'Brien was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player after making 70 saves in 99 minutes 29 seconds of action - the longest game in St. Norbert and NCAA Division III Tournament history.
Norwich, which won its third national title with a 26-1-4 record, scored the game winning goal with 31 seconds left in the second overtime. Pier-Oliver Cotnoir scored when he pushed a loose puck in front of the crease into the net.
An obviously fatigued St. Norbert team was outshot 35-14 in the two overtime sessions, but was kept in the game by a spectacular performance by O'Brien. O'Brien's save total set a St. Norbert record as well as a NCAA Division III Tournament record.
The Green Knights had a couple of good scoring chances early in the first overtime. St. Norbert also had two quality opportunities in the second overtime. Adam Hammerbeck's shot from the goal line almost snuck around an open post, and Shane Wheeler's shot from the slot barely was stopped by the inside leg of Norwich goaltender Ryan Klingensmith. Klingensmith made 33 stops for the Cadets.
Norwich got on the board first with a power-play goal at 11:30 of the first period when O'Brien was screened on Chad Anderson's shot from the circle.
The Green Knights answered at 9:36 of the second when Sam Tikka cashed in on a 2-on-1 chance. Tikka took a pass from Matt Boyd and rung the inside of the crossbar and got the carom to square the game at 1-1.
St. Norbert (24-4-3) finished with 34 shots on goal and was 0-for-6 on the power play. The Green Knights had the only overtime power-play chance, getting an opportunity at 13:01 of the second overtime.
In addition to O'Brien's MOP honor, Tikka and Johan Ryd were both named to the all-tournament team.
The championship game was St. Norbert's fourth appearance in seven years. The Green Knights were also runner-up in 2004 and 2006 in addition to their national title in 2008.