LAKE PLACID, N.Y. – In an arena that has witnessed several dramatic results over the years, St. Norbert edged Salve Regina, 3-2, in double overtime in the NCAA Division III Men’s Ice Hockey Championship final on Saturday evening at Herb Brooks Arena.
It marked the fifth NCAA Division III national championship for St. Norbert (27-4-1), who made its ninth championship game appearance in program history. Salve Regina (22-6-2) played in its first-ever NCAA tournament final on Saturday.
Though both goalies were forced into action several times in the first overtime, the score remained deadlocked at 2-all through a full 20-minute extra session. Brad Pung played the role of hero 9:42 into the second overtime, however, netting the game-winning goal for the Green Knights. Alfred Johansson wrapped the puck around the end boards in the Green Knights’ defensive zone to Pung, and Pung passed along the right boards to Tanner Froese in transition. Froese skated to the bottom of the right face-off circle before passing back to Pung at the top of that same circle. Pung then went five-hole to net the game-winner.
St. Norbert opened scoring with 1:29 left before the first intermission, as Dominick Sacco scored on the power play. After the Seahawks cleared the zone, Bates picked up the puck in the Green Knights’ defensive end and then passed to Sacco. He led Froese into the zone with a pass that went to Froese along the right boards, and Froese centered a pass back to Sacco, who was crashing toward the net down the middle of the ice. Sacco then scored glove slide from the slote to hand the Green Knights a 1-0 advantage.
The Green Knights scored on yet another power-play opportunity with 12:25 elapsed in the second period, taking advantage of a five-minute major assessed to Salve Regina. Bates passed D-to-D to Froese, and Froese fed Luke Davison on the left point. Davison took a shot that navigated through traffic and into the back of the net to give the Green Knights a 2-0 advantage.
Just 1:05 later, Salve Regina scored shorthanded. Cameron Russo wrapped the puck around the boards in the left corner down to Pat Thompson from behind the goal line, and Thompson passed back to Russo out in front. Russo ended up scoring glove side to trim the gap to 2-1. Frankie Sullivan also earned an assist on the play.
Paul Boutoussov tied up the game with 10:35 gone in the third. Sullivan grabbed the puck in the Seahawks’ defensive zone, skated down the ice and took a shot that was saved before Boutoussov grabbed the rebound, spun and fired a shot past the goalie stick side.
St. Norbert finished with a 50-43 edge in shots on goal and scored well on the power play, going 2-for-4 with the extra skater. Salve Regina was 0-for-3 with the extra attacker.
T.J. Black turned aside 41 shots in the win for St. Norbert, while Blake Wojtala made 47 stops in between the pipes for Salve Regina.