Special to Oswego County Today By Bill Foley
St. Norbert ice hockey coach Tom Coghlin, sitting proudly before the press corps, said, “This is the most proud I have been of any team I have coached,” after his Green Knights advanced to the NCAA Division III Ice Hockey Championship game with a 4-1 win over number one seeded Norwich.
The Wisconsin based team, representing a school with an enrollment of 2,168, took on the high powered, nationally respected Cadets. However, when it was over St. Norbert’s had overcome the momentum swings, the usually potent power play and gained the huge victory.
Frosh netminder David Jacobson was the third rep goalie earlier this season, but Coghlin said, “David basically worked hard and said thank you very much (to the other two goalies) that will be it for everyone else.”
Jacobson had several outstanding saves as he stopped 25 Cadet shots while his teammates were able to get 23 shots on Parker Carroll.
Norwich Coach Mike McShane was less than content with the performance of his team. He said, “It was the worst game all year. We were frustrated. We had some quality chances early and couldn’t capitalize. We just could not sustain any drives.”
With one of the top power plays in the nation the Cadets could only score once on eight opportunities.
Though McShane voiced displeasure with his team he did say, “They were stronger on the puck than we were. They got an early goal, got the jump and had great chances. We did not have any big plays.”
With outstanding goaltending in the spotlight for this year’s NCAA Division III Ice Hockey Tournament in Lake Placid teams scoring could be difficult.
St. Norbert’s finished the first period with a 1-0 lead over Norwich taking advantage of a power play rebound at the 18:20 mark as Joe Perry poked the loose puck under the glove of Cadet keeper Parker Carroll after the shot on goal bounded back in the middle of a crowd. Seth Soley and Justin Favreau worked the puck to the front of the net for the lead.
At the midway point of the opening period the Cadets appeared ready to go up 1-0 as the puck moved “back door’ to Travis Janke. Norbert’s goalie David Jacobson was guarding the right side of the net as play as Norwich loaded that side of the ice. Janke stood all alone at the far post and the puck went directly on his stick. However, in a flash Jacobson recovered and closed the door with a sliding save. The rebound went right back to Janke, but once again he was stoned.
Solid communication between linemates resulted in a 2-0 advantage for the Green Knights.
Genuine scoring chances highlighted the second period, but only one goal resulted. Chris Rial went straight to the net as Alain Jonette and Sam Dougherty forced the play along the boards. A shot went on net and the rebound was cashed in by Rial.
Norwich pressured the Norbert goalie, but Jacobson continued to withstand the shots as he turned away every second period scoring attempt.
Fans who loved a booming slap shot were quite please when St. Norbert’s Marian Fiala powered the puck into the net for a 3-0 lead.
Physical play began to take its toll in the third period with penalties starting to pop up on the board. It appeared Norwich was getting a bit frustrated, but a melee which sent five players to the penalty box with nearly 14 minutes remaining eventually gave the Cadets a power play. They responded almost immediately with yet another rebound goal by Blake Forkey as he averted a shutout.
Norwich continued to apply the pressure, but could not get the second puck into the net
With less than 10 seconds remaining an open net goal by Kyle Stroh iced the trip to the finals for the DePere, Wisconsin team.
Norwich coach McShane might have said it best as he noted, “Maybe we just played a better club tonight.”