MARK COUCH | SPORTS EDITOR
On Feb. 11, the men’s hockey team completed its sweep of St. Scholastica with a dominating 9-2 victory. The Green Knights clinched the NCHA North Division with the win, giving them a first round bye in the Harris Cup Playoffs.
The St. Scholastica Saints began their series against #2 ranked St. Norbert on Friday, Feb. 10. The Green Knights outshot the Saints 26-7 after two periods of play, but were unable to find the back of the net. Excellent defense and goaltending from both sides meant the game was tied heading into the third period. Three minutes and 26 seconds into the third period, Alfred Johansson took a shot from the point which was redirected into the goal by Ross Pavek to give St. Norbert the 1-0 lead. The Green Knights struck again less than 2 minutes later on a one-timer goal from Dominic Sacco to increase their lead to 2 goals. T.J. Black continued to be a wall in goal for St. Norbert the rest of the game and earned his NCHA-leading fifth shutout of the season in the 2-0 win.
The Saints returned to Cornerstone Community Center the following night looking to end the road trip with some points, but the game was all St. Norbert. Noah Nelson took over the game from the drop of the puck, scoring a goal less than four minutes into play. Nelson then assisted on a Riley Christensen goal, scored his second goal of the game and capped off the period with another helper on a Sean Campbell goal, totalling a 4 point first period.
The scoring didn’t slow down in the second period as the Green Knights tacked on four more goals. Steven Phillips led the charge, recording a hat trick in the period. Pijus Rulevicius also scored, and St. Norbert led 8-1 after two periods.
St. Scholastica’s Davis Ross tallied his second goal of the game early in the third period, then Christensen matched the feat, scoring his second goal of the contest to give St. Norbert a 9-2 lead and eventual win. Nelson ended the game with 2 goals and 5 assists for 7 points, which tied the St. Norbert record for points in a game. Phillips finished with 3 goals and 3 assists for 6 points. The loss was St. Scholastica’s worst since they were defeated 11-1 by St. Norbert back on Feb. 20, 2004.
Coach Coghlin’s Green Knights are 18-4-1 on the year and they feature the top defense in the nation. St. Norbert will return to action on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Cornerstone Community Center in the NCHA Semifinal Game.