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Furious Rally Lifts St. Norbert Past Augsburg in NCAA Tournament Opener

From Asst. AD/Athletics Communications, March 9, 2019 | Men's Hockey
by Dan Lukes, dan.lukes@snc.edu, (920) 403-4077

DE PERE - St. Norbert College rallied from a late two-goal deficit and extended its season with an improbable 4-3 win over Augsburg University in a first-round NCAA Division III Tournament game at Cornerstone Community Center.

The third-ranked Green Knights (23-4-3) advance to face No. 1-ranked UW-Stevens Point (26-0-2) at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 16 in a national quarterfinal game at K.B. Willett Arena in Stevens Point. Augsburg (21-4-3) saw its season come to an end in the NCAA Tournanent at St. Norbert for the fourth consecutive season.

St. Norbert, the defending Division III champion, was in dire straits trailing 3-1 when Augsburg's Jason Krych scored a power-play goal with 7:33 remaining. The Green Knights were able to generate some momentum when Augsburg's Alex Rodriguez was whistled for hooking with 6:03 to go. St. Norbert's power play converted when Riley Christensen adroitly used a screen of Augsburg goaltender Nick Schmit to pot his 14th goal of the season with 5:04 remaining.

The Green Knights kept the pressure on down the stretch, narrowly missing a couple of quality chances. With the clock melting toward the 1-minute mark, Roman Uchyn corralled a puck below the goal line and weaved through a pair of Auggie defenders to finish with a backhand to tie the game 3-3 with 1:11 to go on his team-high 15th goal of the year.

Augsburg was turned away by St. Norbert goaltender T.J. Black on a quality scoring chance on the first shift of overtime to keep the Green Knights alive. St. Norbert then sent the partisan crowd of 1,593 into a frenzy when Brad Pung's centering pass was redirected by Dominick Sacco for the game-winning score just 2:19 into overtime.

Following a first period that featured no scoring and no penalties, St. Norbert had three power-play chances in the second period but came up empty. The Green Knights were able to carry a 1-0 lead into the second intermission thanks to an Uchyn goal at 11:57 of the frame. Uchyn got a shot blocked by Sacco caroming out of the St. Norbert defensive zone and broke in on Schmit, whose stick check knocked away Uchyn's initial shot. The puck went right back to the stick of Uchyn, who then converted for the goal.

Augsburg would generate plenty of momentum when Tommy Carey scored at 3:58 of the third period to tie the game 1-1. Eric Brenk finished off a pretty 2-on-1 combination to give the Auggies a 2-1 lead at 8:03. Krych's aforementioned goal at 12:27 then gave Augsburg a two-goal advantage.

Uchyn factored in on all four St. Norbert goals, finishing with two goals and two assists for four points. Sacco had two assists for a three-point game, while Brad Pung added two assists.

The game marked the third overtime game in as many meetings between St. Norbert and Augsburg this season. The Auggies defeated St. Norbert 6-5 and tied 3-3 on Dec. 7-8 in Minneapolis. St. Norbert improved to 2-3-3 in overtime games this season, while Augsburg dropped to 5-1-3 in extra time.

The win, St. Norbert's 23rd in its last 27 NCAA Tournament games, marked the Green Knights' 14th in a row. The winning streak is tied for third-longest in school history. The Green Knights also improved to 40-0-3 in their last 43 games at Cornerstone Community Center.

St. Norbert outshot Augsburg 40-22. Black made 19 saves for the Green Knights, while Schmit turned away 36 shots for the Auggies.

The Green Knights were 1-for-4 on the power play, while the Auggies were 1-for-2.

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