Down two in the second, Geneseo St. scores next three to advance to semis
GENESEO, N.Y. -- Geneseo State junior forward Tyler Brickler scored three unanswered goals to lead the Knights back from a 2-0 second-period deficit for a 3-2 victory against Norwich in the NCAA tournament quarterfinals on Sunday at Wilson Ice Arena.
Geneseo (23-6), which tied a school record with its 23rd victory of the season, advances to the national semifinals to play St. Norbert on Friday in a game to be played at Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, Maine.
Norwich (20-7-3) controlled play for most of the first 20 minutes, but Geneseo was able to stave off several solid scoring chances by the Cadets until the final second of the period. Norwich was awarded the game's first power play with 1:22 on the clock following a Geneseo high-sticking call and converted just as the first period was about to expire. Senior forward Shane Gorman collected a rebound off a save by sophomore goalie Nick Horrigan and fed Flaherty for a tip-in that beat the buzzer by a split second for the 1-0 lead.
"Obviously, the game didn't start out as planned," Geneseo coach Chris Schultz said. "Our goal was to get after them and just play our game. For the first 20 minutes, we played with fear. It took us that long to figure out that we were in the game and we are as good as anybody. We just needed to believe that we have the talent, skill and character to win a big hockey game and the guys came through when it counted."
In the second period, Norwich took a 2-0 lead with 10:40 on the clock as Gorman got open in front of Horrigan and scored on a pass from the right side off the stick of sophomore defender Erik Lyrvall. But that would be the Cadets' final goal of the game, as the Knights held them scoreless for the final 29:20 of the game.
Brickler got the Knights on the board with a power-play tally with 2:13 on the second-period clock. Following a Cadet interference call, senior forward Zachary Vit took a shot from the point that was saved by Norwich senior goalie Chris Czarnota, but Brickler was there to collect the rebound and score to pull Geneseo within one heading into the second intermission.
Geneseo tied it up 1:34 into the third period with another power-play tally after a Norwich tripping penalty. Brickler took a pass from Scharfe down low on the right side of the cage and attempted to center the puck in front of Czarnota. However, the pass deflected off the skate of a Cadet defender and trickled into the right side of the net to knot the game, 2-2.
Brickler scored the deciding goal after Scharfe sent a long pass from the left boards just inside the blue line to the right side of the goal and he buried a close-range shot to make it a 3-2 Knights' edge with 6:28 remaining in the contest.
Geneseo was able to hold off the Cadets' attempt at finding the equalizer as Horrigan totaled 35 saves to notch his seventh game with at least 30 saves in his past nine outings and improve to 13-1 on the season.
Making only the program's fourth NCAA tournament appearance, Geneseo advanced to Saturday's quarterfinal after defeating Nichols 3-2 on Thursday for the first NCAA tournament win in program history. Geneseo has never played St. Norbert, who has won three of the past six Division III national championships, including back-to-back titles in 2011 and '12.