Green Knights stun Auggies in overtime
By Murray Gleffe
ASHWAUBENON – Trailing 3-1 with less than 6 minutes remaining and its season on the brink, the No. 3-ranked St. Norbert men’s hockey team stormed back to post a 4-3 overtime victory over No. 6 Augsburg in an NCAA Division III first-round game March 9 at the Cornerstone Community Center.
Dominick Sacco’s goal with 2:19 left in the extra period sent the NCHA champs into the NCAA Quarterfinals where they will face No. 1 UW-Stevens Point (26-0-2) March 16 at KB Willett Arena in Point.
Sacco’s goal appeared to hit off his skate and go into the net.
“The effort I thought the guys put forth in those last six minutes was tremendous,” said St. Norbert head coach Tim Coghlin, whose team improved to 23-4-3. “The resiliency of this group and the fan support I thought gave us the push we needed to even the game up and ultimately win in overtime.”
Augsburg took a 3-1 lead on successive goals by Tommy Carey, Eric Brenk and Jason Krych in the third period.
Krych’s goal came with 7:33 left.
“I was very surprised and disappointed at how we came out in the third period,” Coghlin said. “Give Augsburg credit – they are a true champion of the MIAC and really it took it to us in that 15-minute stretch.”
St. Norbert got some good luck when Augsburg’s Alex Rodriquez was called for a hooking penalty with 6:03 remaining in the third period.
The Green Knights took advantage when Riley Christensen sent a slapper past goalie Nick Schmit to cut the lead to 3-2 with 5:04 showing on the clock.
“I didn’t really see what happened,” said Coghlin. “But I think their goalie got screened. Being on the power play and getting the second goal obviously gave us some energy.”
Then with just over a minute to go, St. Norbert kept the puck in its offensive zone, and Augsburg’s top line got caught in a long shift where it couldn’t clear the puck.
Roman Uchyn flipped a shot past the outstretched glove of Schmit with 1:11 remaining to even the score and force overtime.
In overtime, Matt Nehls nearly ended the Green Knights’ season with two quick shots on St. Norbert goalie T.J. Black before Sacco won it.
Despite outshooting the Auggies 24-12 through two periods, St. Norbert only held a 1-0 lead through 40 minutes.
Uchyn’s first goal of the night came at the 8:03 mark of the second period when he took a Sacco feed at mid-ice and beat Schmit short-side.
Black made 19 saves in net for St. Norbert, while Schmit had 36 saves for Augsburg.
The Green Knights outshot the Auggies 40-22.
“We don’t have much time to enjoy this,” Coghlin added. “Stevens Point is a fantastic team. We managed a tie with them earlier in the season in a bit of a bizarre start to the game. The winner moves on to the Frozen Four.”
Augsburg: 0, 0, 3, 0 – 3
St. Norbert: 0, 1, 2, 1 – 4
Shots on Goal:
Auggies: 6, 6, 8, 2—22
Green Knights: 8, 16, 13, 3—40