Keefer's Last-Minute Goal Lifts St. Norbert Past Oswego State in Lake Placid Thriller

From Sports Information Director, March 19, 2010 | Men's Hockey
by Dan Lukes, dan.lukes@snc.edu, (920) 403-4077

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. - Cody Keefer's goal with 39 seconds left pushed St. Norbert College into the NCAA Division III national championship game with a pulsating 4-3 win over Oswego State University at Herb Brooks Arena.

St. Norbert, now 24-3-3 overall, will face Norwich University or Plattsburgh State University at 4:07 p.m. CDT for the title. The game will be broadcast live on the CBS College Sports network.

Keefer was able to get a loose puck that skipped off an Oswego State skater's stick at the Lakers' defensive blue line. Keefer skated in alone on Oswego State goaltender Kyle Gunn-Taylor and beat him five-hole for the game-winning marker.

Oswego State pulled Gunn-Taylor but the Lakers would not get a quality scoring chance with the extra attacker. St. Norbert cleared the puck deep in the Lakers' defensive zone with about 10 seconds left to effectively end the game.

Keefer's game-winning goal finished off a wide-open third period that turned a 1-1 game after two periods into a shootout to the finish. Tyler Allen's rebound goal on the power play at 4 minutes 18 seconds of the third gave the Green Knights a brief 2-1 lead. Oswego State's Justin Fox answered 54 seconds later to tie the game at 2-2.

St. Norbert jumped back ahead at 3-2 at the 7:02 mark. Scott Pulak found a wide-open Sam Tikka streaking toward the net off a cross-ice pass, also beating Gunn-Taylor five-hole. Tikka's score held up for over 10 minutes until the Lakers' Jon Whitelaw knocked in a loose puck with 2:32 left.

The Green Knights scored the game's first goal at 18:01 of the first period when Johan Ryd stripped a Laker at the blueline and scored easily. The Lakers wouldn't tie the game until there was 2:46 left in the second period when Neil Musselwhite finished a shot from the high left circle.

Oswego State outshot St. Norbert 23-20. Goaltender B.J. O'Brien kept St. Norbert in the game early, making several tough saves. O'Brien finished with 20 saves and also helped St. Norbert hold Oswego State to an 0-for-4 on the power play.

Gunn-Taylor finished with 16 saves for the Lakers, and made just three stops on six shots in the third period.

St. Norbert, which has won its last six NCAA Tournament games, will play in its fourth national championship game in seven years with the win. The Green Knights were national runner-up in 2004 and 2006 and won their first national crown in 2008.