LAKE PLACID, N.Y. – The third-ranked Oswego State men’s ice hockey team (24-4-2) fell short of capturing its second NCAA Division III Men’s Ice Hockey Championship when it fell to defending national champion and fifth-ranked St. Norbert (21-5-5) by the score of 4-1 on Saturday night at Herb Brooks Arena. The Lakers earned the program’s third NCAA runner-up trophy after finishing second in 1987 and 2003. It marked the third national title in five seasons for the St. Norbert Green Knights.
In stark contrast to Friday’s game, the scoring started seventeen seconds into the first period when St. Norbert’s Cody Keefer wristed a shot from the high slot past Andrew Hare (Jr., Burlington, Ont.) stick side after he took the puck away from an Oswego State defender just inside the blue line.
The Green Knights remained on the offensive early in the game when they went on the power play following a boarding penalty at 1:55, but the Lakers did not allow any good looks at the net. The effort seemed to help Oswego State settle into the game as it went on its first power play at 4:29, but came up empty.
Ian Boots (Sr., Akwesasne, N.Y.) nearly tied the game at 7:33 when Chris Muise (Jr., Oakville, Ont.) hit him with a cross-ice pass, as Boots got behind the defense. However, St. Norbert goalie David Jacobson got behind the shot to preserve the one-goal advantage.
It became a tie game at 10:47 when Chris Brown (Jr., Centreville, Ont.) intercepted a Green Knight clearing attempt at the left face-off circle. Brown found David Titanic (So., Markham, Ont.) sitting open in the slot before rifling a wrist shot into the top right corner over Jacobson’s glove.
Keefer nearly tacked on his second goal of the game at 13:51 when he was on the doorstep alone, but Hare flashed some fancy leather for the save. Minutes later though, St. Norbert regained the lead at 17:29 when Reid Campbell found Brandon Hoogenboom sitting at the back door for the open-net goal with a second assist going to Mason Baptista as the Lakers struggled to clear the defensive zone.
Oswego State ended the period with an extra attacker when the Green Knights were called for hitting after the whistle at 18:05. The Lakers had a few quality looks at the net, but shots from the point went wide of the net.
Oswego State started the second period with a renewed energy controlling puck possession in the early going until the Lakers were called for interference at 6:21, which the penalty-kill unit killed off. Midway through the frame, Oswego State came up short on its third power play after a boarding penalty. However, seconds after St. Norbert returned to full strength it was assessed an interference penalty only for the Lakers to come up empty again.
Andrew Mather (Sr., Ottawa, Ont.) had a breakaway opportunity at 14:18 using his speed up the near side, but he was unable to get the shot above Jacobson, who went to the ice to try to make the save.
The Green Knights went on their fourth power play at 16:42 after a Laker interference penalty in the defensive zone, and St. Norbert made them pay. Kyle Stroh passed the puck from behind the net to Keefer for the one-timer past Hare to make it a 3-1 game with 1:37 left in the second. Johan Ryd was also credited with an assist.
By the end of the second, Oswego State trailed 3-1, despite out-shooting its opponent, 14-5, in the frame.
At 7:15 in the third, the Lakers were given their fifth power-play chance of the game after a St. Norbert hooking penalty. Jon Whitelaw (Jr., Huntsville, Ont.) one-timed a blast from the center of the blue line 45 seconds into the extra attacker, but it was Jacobson’s turn to flash the leather.
The Green Knights took another penalty at the 8:30 mark with Oswego State getting a few shots on goal without any finding the back of the net.
Keefer completed the hat trick at 17:07 when he beat a Laker defenseman in a foot race for the puck from the Oswego State offensive zone. Keefer then found the back of the net by going five-hole on Hare to seal the win.
The Laker power-play unit struggled all evening, as it finished the game 0-for-6. St. Norbert ended 1-for-5 with the extra attacker. Hare ended the contest with 21 saves, while Jacobson posted 29 stops.
Despite the four goals allowed, Oswego State finished the season with a program-low 54 goals allowed bettering the previous record of 56 goals allowed by the 2006-07 squad. Hare also set a single-season record with a 1.75 goals against average, which bested Ryan Scott’s record of 1.99 in the 2006-07 season as well.
Members of the 2012 NCAA All-Tournament Team included Oswego State’s Ian Boots, St. Norbert’s Johan Ryd, Cody Keefer, Zach MacDonald, and Amherst’s Mike Baran. The Most Outstanding Player was St. Norbert goaltender David Jacobson.