ADRIAN, Mich. - St. Norbert College rallied from a third-period deficit to stun Adrian College 3-2 in the championship game of the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association Harris Cup Playoffs at Arrington Ice Arena.
The Green Knights (21-5-1) led 1-0 entering the final period. Adrian scored twice in the first five minutes of the third period for a 2-1 lead, but St. Norbert came again with a pair of goals in the next 7:14 to win its 13th NCHA Playoffs championship. Alfred Johansson's marker - his first of the season - with 7:46 remaining was the difference.
St. Norbert clinched the NCHA's automatic berth into the NCAA Division III Tournament, its 17th. The Green Knights have made all of their NCAA Tournament appearances in the last 21 seasons, starting in 1997. The NCAA will announce the NCAA Tournament field at 9:30 a.m. Monday.
The Green Knights got the game's critical first goal when Steven Phillips scored just 4:28 into the game, with Riley Christensen and Chris Rygus assisting. Five-on-five action was sparse the rest of the first period but neither team could score. Adrian came up empty on four power-play chances in the first 20 minutes, while St. Norbert was 0-for-3.
Adrian (19-6-2) outshot St. Norbert 12-6 in the second period but again came up empty at the pay window. The Green Knights had three power-play chances in the second period and the Bulldogs had one.
The Bulldogs appeared to wrest momentum from St. Norbert when Mathew Thompson scored at the 3:17 mark of the third period to knot the score 1-1. St. Norbert went shorthanded 25 seconds later and Dino Balsamo banged home a power-play goal at the 5-minute mark.
St. Norbert picked up a big equalizer from Riley Christensen at 7:14, his 11th goal of the season. Roman Uchyn and Tyler Andrews were credited with assists. The Green Knights then pulled ahead when Johansson puffed the net at the 12:14 mark with Andrews assisting.
Adrian, which finished 0-3 at home against St. Norbert this season, would have an extra attacker on the ice for the final 1:45 but couldn't register a game-tying goal.
St. Norbert goaltender T.J. Black made 32 saves and was named the Most Valuable Player of the Harris Cup Playoffs following the game. Andrews, Christensen and Sean Campbell were also named to the All-Tournament Team.
Kevin Entmaa made 26 saves for the Bulldogs. Adrian outshot St. Norbert 34-29.
Adrian finished 1-for-7 overall on the power play, while St. Norbert was 0-for-7.