St. Norbert Wins 12th NCHA Playoffs Championship
From Sports Information Director, March 8, 2014 | Men's Hockey
by Dan Lukes, email@example.com, (920) 403-4077
DE PERE - St. Norbert College claimed its 12th Northern Collegiate Hockey Association playoff championship with a workmanlike 5-1 win over College of St. Scholastica at the Community Center.
The Green Knights (25-3-1) won the Harris Cup for the first time after moving to the "new" NCHA this season. St. Norbert, ranked No. 1 in the USCHO.com and D3hockey.com polls, won the Peters Cup 11 times from 1998 to 2013 before that trophy became the NCHA's regular-season championship award this season.
St. Norbert clinched the NCHA's automatic berth into the 11-team NCAA Division III Tournament. The bracket will be announced about 9 p.m. Sunday.
The Green Knights took control with a pair of goals late in the first period. Erik Cooper got St. Norbert on the board when his initial drive on a shot from the point was blocked by a St. Scholastica defenseman, but the puck came right back to him and he finished at the 14:19 mark. St. Norbert then went ahead 2-0 when Blake Thompson's blast beat St. Scholastica goaltender Tyler Brueggeman clean glove side at the 17:04 mark.
St. Norbert increased its lead to 3-0 when Michael Hill found Cullen Bradshaw in front of the net at the 13:15 mark of the second period.
The Green Knights pulled away in the third when Tyler Zepeda scored at 7:05 the period. St. Scholastica (16-9-4) avoided a shutout when Dave Williams scored a power-play goal at 16:25. St. Norbert answered with the final goal on a Mason Baptista marker at 17:15.
Bradshaw and Baptista added assists to finish with two-point games.
St. Norbert goaltender David Jacobson made 17 saves, and was named Most Valuable Player of the 2014 NCHA Harris Cup Playoffs. Bradshaw and Marian Fiala also made the All-Tournament Team. St. Scholastica's Brandon Nowakowski and Matt Malenstyn were also selected, as was Adiran College's Josh Ranalli.
St. Norbert finished 1-for-6 on the power play, while St. Scholastica was 1-for-4.