St. Norbert wins back-to-back titles
Keefer's hat trick leads Green Knights by Oswego State in final
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- St. Norbert is the now the owner of the rarest of happenings in sports -- a dynasty.
The Green Knights won their third national championship in five years, and became only the third program in tournament history to repeat as titlists, with a 4-1 win against Oswego State at Herb Brooks Arena. The Green Knights (21-5-5) finished with a 14-1-1 roar down the stretch after a 7-4-4 start to the season.
St. Norbert has won 13 of its last 14 games in the NCAA tournament, the only blemish a 2-1 double overtime loss to Norwich in the 2010 national championship game. That's the best mark by any team in the NCAA tournament since Middlebury won 16 consecutive games from 1995 to 1998. Overall, the Green Knights have played in the national title game six times in the last nine years.
Cody Keefer wasted little time in putting St. Norbert into the driver's seat, skating down the slot and sniping a wrister just 17 seconds into the game for a 1-0 lead.
The Lakers' David Titanic buried a feed from Chris Brown at 10:47 of the first period to even the score at 1-1 after the Green Knights had an uncharacteristic turnover deep in their defensive zone.
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St. Norbert jumped back ahead toward the end of the first period when Brandon Hoogenboom knocked home a rebound at 17:29. The goal was Hoogenboom's first since Nov. 26, a span of 19 games.
Oswego (24-4-2) then had the better of the action in the second period, but couldn't find the equalizer despite holding a 14-5 shots edge in the middle 20 minutes. The Lakers virtually had a four-minute power play midway through the period, but came up empty. Oswego's Chris Ayotte was whistled for interference at 16:42, and Keefer again found twine when he walked in on the doorstep to convert the power-play goal at 18:23 -- his 10th of the year -- for a 3-1 lead.
St. Norbert's trademark stingy third-period defense ruled the day in the final 20 minutes, with the Green Knights routinely turning the Lakers away at their offensive blue line. St. Norbert again had to kill off another virtual four-minute power play midway through the period, but continued to hold down its two-goal edge.
The Green Knights then finished off Oswego with a Keefer breakaway goal, cleanly beating Lakers' netminder Andrew Hare, with 2:53 left. Keefer's hat trick now gives him seven goals and one assist in six career Frozen Four games, and he has five goals in the last two national title games.
St. Norbert freshman goaltender David Jacobson turned in a virtuoso performance between the pipes that belied his collegiate experience. Jacobson made 29 saves in the game, including all 14 shots he faced in the crucial second period, to give him 55 saves in the semifinal and national championship games. Jacobson was named the Most Oustanding Player for the tournament.
Joining Jacobson on the all-tournament team was Keefer, Johan Ryd and Zach McDonald -- giving the Green Knights four of the six spots. Ryd, Seth Soley and Alain Joanette are the only three St. Norbert seniors on this year's squad.
St. Norbert finished the game 1-for-5 on the power play, and held Oswego's power play to an 0-for-6 showing. Hare made 21 saves in net for the Lakers.