LAKE PLACID, N.Y. – Salve Regina and St. Norbert each won their semifinal-round games at the 2018 NCAA Division III Men’s Ice Hockey Championship on Friday at Herb Brooks Arena, and the two will meet for the national championship on Saturday, March 24, at 7 p.m.
St. Norbert (26-4-1) will be seeking its fifth national championship, while Salve Regina (22-5-2) is in search of its first national title.
Salve Regina 3, Wisconsin-Stevens Point 0
Salve Regina relied on a 55-save performance from Blake Wojtala to defeat Wisconsin-Stevens Point (21-6-3), 3-0, in the first game of the day. Wojtala broke the NCAA Division III Men’s Hockey Championship record for saves in a game excluding overtime, eclipsing the former mark of 54 set by Wisconsin-Superior’s Jeff Markham in 1993.
Wisconsin-Stevens Point peppered Wojtala with shots in the opening stanza, finishing with a 23-4 cushion in shots on goal in the period. Despite the Pointers dominating the first period, Erik Udahl put Salve Regina on the board with 1:25 left in the stanza. Udahl scored unassisted, as he stole the puck in the Pointers’ defensive zone and beat the goalie.
Udahl scored his second straight goal with 13:50 gone in the second period on the power play to hand Salve Regina a 2-0 advantage. Nick Cyr passed down to Pat Thompson, and Thompson passed to Udahl along the right boards. Udahl carried the puck to the hash marks on the right side on the right face-off circle and beat the goalie blocker side.
Salve Regina’s Danny Philbrick put the game on ice with 2:28 left in regulation, scoring an empty-net goal. John McLean fed Philbrick on the rush, and Philbrick buried the puck in the unmanned net.
Behind 53 saves from Blake Wojtala and two goals from Erik Udahl the @SalveAthletics men's hockey team advances to the Division III national championship game with a 3-0 win over Wisconsin Stevens Point in Lake Placid, NY.— DailyNewsSports (@SportsNDN) March 23, 2018
Wisconsin-Stevens Point outshot Salve Regina, 55-20, and both teams sustained three two-minute minors. The Seahawks went 1-for-3 on the power play, while the Pointers were scoreless in three chances with the extra attacker.
Max Milosek shouldered the loss for Wisconsin-Stevens Point, turning aside 17 shots.
St. Norbert 4, Colby 3
St. Norbert jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period and held off a late charge by Colby (17-11-2) to eke out a 4-3 victory.
The Green Knights opened scoring 1:28 into the game. Riley Christensen passed to Nick LeSage on the left point, and LeSage connected with Roman Uchyn in the left circle. Uchyn then scored glove side from the high slot to stake St. Norbert to a 1-0 advantage.
Just 1:07 later, Dominick Sacco made it a 2-0 game. Steven Phillips passed to Sacco, and Phillips entered the zone along the left boards before uncorking a shot that skipped past the Mule goaltender.
Tanner Froese gave St. Norbert a 3-0 advantage 11:33 into the first period, as Peter Bates played the puck out in front from behind the goal line, and Froese evaded traffic and scored low glove side.
J.P. Schuhlen drew Colby within two with a marker with 15:04 elapsed in the second. Kienan Scott took a shot that was saved before Schuhlen punched in the rebound. Mark Leprine also earned an assist on the play.
The Mules made it a one-goal game 2:52 later on the power play, as Thomas Stahlhuth fed Cam MacDonald from behind the goal line, and Stahlhuth carried the puck out in front and scored from inside the right face-off circle.
Tanner Froese scored shorthanded and unassisted with 35 seconds left in the second period to give St. Norbert a 4-2 edge.
Colby made it interesting late, as Justin Grillo put away a goal with 14:08 gone in the third. Michael Rudolf fed Grillo D-to-D in the neutral zone, and Grillo ripped a slap shot from the high slot that went glove side.
While Colby pulled its goaltender with 1:10 remaining in regulation and received some quality offensive looks with the extra attacker, the Green Knights held on for the win.
St. Norbert finished with a 47-43 edge in shots on goal, while Colby was 1-for-4 on the power play.
T.J. Black turned aside 40 shots in the win for St. Norbert, while Sean Lawrence made 43 saves in the loss for Colby.