Photo courtesy of Paul Brandon
LAKE PLACID, N.Y.—#2/2 St. Norbert College junior forward Noah Nelson scored 3:49 into the second overtime, to lift the Green Knights past #6/7 UMass Boston men's hockey in the wildest game in Division III NCAA Men's Hockey history.
#2/2 St. Norbert College 8, #6/7 UMass Boston 7 (2OT)
(UMass Boston 23-5-3)
(St. Norbert 25-3-2)
HOW IT HAPPENED
After falling behind 7-3 after 40 minutes, UMass Boston recorded a furious third period comeback to force overtime against the four-time national champions. Junior Tyler Bishop (Ramsey, N.J.) capped the comeback with 1:18 to go in regulation, as the Beacons scored seven goals against the number one scoring defense in the nation (1.38 goals per game).
Saturday's game was a game of runs, as the Beacons took a 3-0 lead just 6:48 into the first period. St. Norbert responded with a goal with 0.7 seconds left in the first and then scored six-straight in the second. UMass Boston countered with a four-goal third period, including three goals in the final 6:27.
The loss ends the best season in program history and the careers of the most successful class in program history. UMass Boston's class of 2016 went 81-21-10 and recorded the second and third-most wins in a single-season in program history. Seniors Frankie DeAugustine (Pittsburgh, Pa.), Derek Colucci (North Scituate, R.I.), Zach Andrews (Coral Springs, Fla.), Jeremy Finger (Orlando, Fla.), Andrew Crawford(Medford, Mass.), Alex Demchuk (Calgary, Alberta), Mike Miller (Wrentham, Mass.), Billy Faust (Alta Loma, Calif.) and Matt Lemire (Townsend, Mass.) all played their final games in a Beacons uniform Friday night.
DeAugustine had a huge game for the Beacons, as he played in his program-record setting 107th collegiate game. The senior forward finished with a game-high four points (one goal and three assists) and +4 +/- rating, and assisted on Bishop's game-tying goal.
Lemire added a pair of goals in the win, while Colucci added a goal and an assist. The Beacons' showed they could be right back in the Frozen Four next year, as freshmen John Bonno (Kennesaw, Ga.) added a goal and an assist and fellow defenseman Gabe Chuckran (Media, Pa.) tied DeAugustine with a team-high three assists.
Juniors Brett Mason (Rowley, Mass.) and Bishop potted the final two goals for the Beacons, as the team's defensive corps combined for three of their seven goals.
In net, Andrews was the third period and overtime hero, as he came on for game action for the first time since February 5. In his first playoff action since his freshman year, Andrews stopped 23 of 24 shots in his 64th collegiate game. Faust, who had been the driving force behind UMass Boston's entire playoff run, allowed seven goals on 27 shots over 40 minutes of action.
On the other side, Pijus Rulevicius and Blake Thompson each scored twice for the Green Knights, who will be playing in their ninth NCAA Championship Game on Saturday. St. Norbert will take on #3/3 University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point on Saturday at 7 p.m. for the national title.
St. Norbert was forced to make a goalie change as well, as junior starter Tony Kujava was pulled after allowing two goals on five shots. Freshmen T.J. Black earned the victory by making 29 saves on 34 shots.
The Beacons came out red hot and were all over St. Norbert, as Colucci gave the Beacons a 1-0 lead 64 seconds in. DeAugustine added a second on a rifle over Kujava's shoulder at 3:35 and Lemire scored a highlight reel goal at 6:48. The senior skated in from the far side along the goal line and roofed a backhand shot over the goalie's shoulder for a power-play tally.
St. Norbert cut the momentum with just 0.7 seconds left in the period, as the Green Knights scored off a scrum in front.
The second period was tinted green, as St. Norbert scored on all three of their power-play opportunities and tacked on a goal with just 7.7 seconds left to push the lead to 7-3.
Needing a "miracle" comeback on the ice that is most known for it, the Beacons struck four times-from four different players.
Bonno scored his second collegiate goal and second of the playoffs, when he roofed a shot just 2:11 into the period.
St. Norbert would keep the Beacons off the scoreboard for the next 10 minutes, as the Beacons were forced to kill off a 5-on-3.
Lemire gave the Beacons' new life at 13:33, when the senior scored his team-leading 17th goal of the season.
UMass Boston took advantage of just their fourth power-play opportunity of the day at 15:42, as Mason rifled a shot home to cut the deficit to 7-6.
With the entire arena behind them, UMass Boston found the equalizer with 1:18 left. Off an offensive zone face-off, DeAugustine sent a pass to the point for Bishop and Bishop unleashed a cannon to tie the game.
Both teams had great chances in the first overtime, but Andrews made several key point-blank chances and Black denied a couple of Beacons' good looks.
The Green Knights finally broke through 3:49 into the second extra session, on a semi-controversial goal. After the Beacons were caught pinching, Nelson was left all alone on a breakaway. Andrews poked the puck loose, but it went off Nelson and in for the 15th and final goal of the night.
BY THE NUMBERS
- UMass Boston finishes the season with the second-most wins in program history (23-5-3). The Beacons won the program's first regular-season title and tournament titles since 1982 and earned their first-ever NCAA Tournament win and first trip to the Frozen Four.
- St. Norbert outshot the Beacons 51-39, while the Beacons held a 55-47 lead in the face-off dot.
- UMass Boston's seven goals mark the most goals the Green Knights have given up since November 5, 2005 against Augsburg College (7-4).
- Eight Beacons played in every game this season and set a new program-record with their 31 games played.
- The Beacons connected on three posts in the contest.
DeAugustine was named to the All-Tournament team for his performance in the semifinal game, the only honoree that did not play in the National Championship. University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point defeated St. Norbert 5-1 to claim their fifth overall national title.
#6/7 UMass Boston will reshift and restock, as the Beacons look to keep the crown of the only New England Hockey Conference Champions in conference history.