St. Norbert Advances to NCHA Peters Cup Championship

From Sports Information Director, February 25, 2012 | Men's Hockey
by Dan Lukes, dan.lukes@snc.edu, (920) 403-4077

GREEN BAY - St. Norbert College advanced to the championship game of the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association Peters Cup Playoffs for the fifth time in the last six years with a thrilling 2-0 win over UW-Eau Claire in a semifinal-round game at the Cornerstone Community Center.

The Green Knights (16-5-5) will host UW-Stevens Point (14-10-4) at 7 p.m. next Saturday at the Cornerstone for the league's post-season title. The Pointers, making their first NCHA finals appearance since 2000, claimed a 5-1 win over the College of St. Scholastica in the other semifinal. Eau Claire finished its season 13-12-3.

St. Norbert scored an early goal and made it hold up for the rest of the game. The Green Knights went on a power play at the 6 minutes 47 seconds mark of the first period following a tripping penalty on Eau Claire's Alex Olson. St. Norbert, which killed off two of its own penalties in the first 6 1/2 minutes, scored at 8:27 when Marian Fiala patiently skated down the middle of the ice. Fiala deked Eau Claire goaltender Brandon Stephenson and finished into an open net for a 1-0 lead. Zach McDonald and Cody Keefer were given assists on the goal.

The Green Knights held off Eau Claire the rest of the way, with neither team having many quality scoring chances the remainder of the game. St. Norbert had a power play midway through the third period, but couldn't score.

In the game's final moments, Johan Ryd skated in the neutral zone with the puck and despite being tangled up with a pair of Blugolds and a linesman, scored into an empty net with 7 seconds left.

St. Norbert outshot Eau Claire 30-19. David Jacobson made all 19 saves for the Green Knights. Stephenson made 28 saves to get the hard-luck loss for Eau Claire. St. Norbert was 1-for-2 on the power play, while Eau Claire was 0-for-4.