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Green Knights Lock Up NCAA Berth With Harris Cup Championship

From Asst. AD/Athletics Communications, March 2, 2019 | Men's Hockey
by Dan Lukes, dan.lukes@snc.edu, (920) 403-4077

DE PERE - St. Norbert College held off a furious third-period rally by Adrian College en route to a 4-1 win in the championship game of the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association Harris Cup Playoffs at Cornerstone Community Center.

The victory, which clinched the Green Knights' 15th NCHA Playoffs championship, gives St. Norbert the NCHA's automatic qualifier into the NCAA Division III Tournament. The Green Knights, the defending national champion, are making their 19th NCAA Tournament appearance in 23 years.

St. Norbert (22-4-3) led 1-0 after two periods, with Timmy Nicksic's goal at 16:25 of the first period holding up through 40 minutes. Nicksic took a pass from Steven Phillips and fired, with his shot trickling past Adrian goaltender Kevin Entmaa and crept over the goal line.

The Green Knights had just over a minute of power-play time entering the third period and capitalized when Riley Christensen corralled a rebound on the left side and puffed the net just 39 seconds into the frame for a two-goal advantage. Adrian would begin to mount heavy offensive pressure as the third period played on, with the Bulldogs' Vincent Paquette getting a turnover below the goal line and scoring unassisted at 9:10.

Adrian continued a blistering assault on the goal, peppering St. Norbert netminder T.J. Black for most of the next seven minutes following Paquette's goal. Black turned away every Bulldog drive, with St. Norbert then getting the puck deep into Adrian territory. Peter Bates scored off a pass from Peyton Frantti at 16:25 for a much-needed insurance goal.

The Bulldogs pulled Entmaa with 1:24 remaining, but did not get any good scoring chances with the extra attacker. Nicksic's empty net goal with 21 seconds left put the finishing touches on the Green Knights' third consecutive Harris Cup title and 13th consecutive win overall.

In addition to Nicksic's two goals, Frantti and Kurt Black had two assists apiece for multi-point games.

Black was named Most Valuable Player of the Harris Cup Playoffs, making 31 saves - including 15 in the third period. He was joined by Frantti, Nicksic and Brendon Gysbers as well as Adrian's Dino Balsamo and Cory Dunn on the All-Tournament Team.

St. Norbert outshot Adrian 36-32. Entmaa made 32 saves for the Bulldogs, who are now 20-8-1.

The Green Knights were 1-for-4 on the power play, while Adrian was 0-for-3.

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