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icehockey-men-d3 flag | March 9, 2014

Babson edges Norwich for ECAC East title

NORTHFIELD, Vt. -- Seniors Troy Starrett and Nik Tasiopoulos both scored third-period goals, and sophomore Jamie Murray, the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, stopped 38 shots lifting second-seeded Babson to a 2-1 victory against top-seeded Norwich in the Eastern College Athletic Conference East championship game on Saturday night at Kreitzberg Arena.

With the victory, Babson (22-4-2) claimed its second consecutive conference title and earned an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Norwich, which dropped to 19-6-3, must wait to see if it earns one of three at-large selections on Sunday night.

The Beavers, who trailed 1-0 entering the third period after dropping both regular-season meetings by the same score to the Cadets, tied the game just 12 seconds after the second intermission on Starrett's sixth goal of the season. Junior Mike Driscoll won the face off and Starrett converted a feed from senior Ryan Heavey, who was named to the all-tournament team, to make it 1-1.

Babson took the lead just past the midway point of the third period after Starrett was tripped up carrying the puck into the offensive zone. The Green and White capitalized on just its second power play of the game as junior Andrew Bonazza intercepted a pass behind the net and fed Tasiopoulos in the crease for his 12th goal of the season at the 10:29 mark for a 2-1 edge.

No. 1 St. Norbert 5, No. 15 Saint Scholastica 1

DE PERE, Wis. -- St. Norbert claimed its 12th Northern Collegiate Hockey Association playoff championship with a workmanlike 5-1 win against Saint Scholastica at the Community Center.

The Green Knights (25-3-1) won the Harris Cup for the first time after moving to the "new" NCHA this season. St. Norbert won the Peters Cup 11 times from 1998 to 2013 before that trophy became the NCHA's regular-season championship award this season.

St. Norbert clinched the NCHA's automatic berth into the 11-team NCAA tournament. The bracket will be announced on Sunday.

The Green Knights took control with a pair of goals late in the first period. Erik Cooper got St. Norbert on the board when his initial drive on a shot from the point was blocked by a St. Scholastica defenseman, but the puck came right back to him and he finished at the 14:19 mark. St. Norbert then went ahead 2-0 when Blake Thompson's blast beat St. Scholastica goaltender Tyler Brueggeman clean glove side at the 17:04 mark.

St. Norbert increased its lead to 3-0 when Michael Hill found Cullen Bradshaw in front of the net at the 13:15 mark of the second period.

The Green Knights pulled away in the third when Tyler Zepeda scored at 7:05 the period. St. Scholastica (16-9-4) avoided a shutout when Dave Williams scored a power-play goal at 16:25. St. Norbert answered with the final goal on a Mason Baptista marker at 17:15.

No. 2 St. Thomas (Minn.) 2, No. 12 Gustavus Adolphus 1

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn. -- Drew Fielding stopped 29 of 30 shots and Jordan Lovick scored the go-ahead goal late in the second period as St. Thomas (Minn.) won the MIAC playoff championship with Saturday’s 2-1 victory against Gustavus Adolphus before a capacity crowd of 1,100-plus.

The Tommies (21-4-2) beat the Gusties (16-7-4) all four meetings this season, including twice on home ice by one-goal margins.

UST advances to the NCAA playoffs for the ninth time in the past 15 seasons but first since 2012.

Fielding won his 20th game of the season, including all four wins against the Gusties. His only loss in 20 games against MIAC opponents was a 1-0 decision at St. John’s (Minn.) in the regular-season finale.

Thomas Williams scored late in period one for the Tommies on their only power-play try of the game. Corey Leivermann answered with an even-strength score 1:11 into the second period. Lovick scored at 18:45 of the second, assisted by Michael Krieg, and the Tommie defense stayed in lockdown mode during the final 21:00 on the clock.

Bowdoin 5, No. 7 Trinity (Conn.) 4

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Bowdoin defeated top-seeded Trinity (Conn.) 5-4 to advance to the NESCAC championship on Saturday evening.

The Polar Bears (16-8-2) advance to their seventh NESCAC final, while the Bantams' season is put on hold at 21-5-0.

John McGinnis put Bowdoin on the board with just 2:44 remaining in the first period. Collecting the puck at the blue line, McGinnis carried cross-ice to the left circle and saw his shot deflect off Benjamin Coulthard's outside skate and dribble across the goal line.

Trinity evened the game at 1-1 under four minutes into the second frame, capitalizing on a short-handed opportunity. Sean Orlando took the puck down the left boards with a Bowdoin defender trailing inside and went top shelf on Max Fenkell. The Polar Bears responded 41 seconds later with a power-play goal from Harry Matheson. Coming down the center, Jay Livermore fed a pass left to Matheson who buried a short side tally for the 2-1 lead. Bowdoin extended its lead in the eighth minute with a wrap-around goal from McGinnis. The Polar Bears scored their third in a row as Chris Fenwick broke free behind the Bantams defense and skated unchallenged towards net, before going top shelf on Coulthard.

Trinity responded with a pair of goals in the final five minutes. Samuel Johnson teed up a shot from the point with Joe Horak catching a piece of it to tip the puck to Fenkell. Capitalizing on a face off in the Polar Bears' defensive end with 1.7 seconds remaining, Elie Vered pushed the puck back into space for a one-timer by Jim Burt. Burt's shot ricocheted off the far post as time expired, leaving Bowdoin with a slim 4-3 lead heading into the final period.

Connor Quinn scored the eventual game winner 6:49 into the third frame.

No. T10 Oswego State 7, No. T10 Geneseo State 6

GENESEO, N.Y. -- Oswego State successfully defended its SUNYAC championship with a gritty 7-6 win against Geneseo State as Shawn Hulshof netted a power-play goal from Alex Botten with just 28.7 seconds remaining in the game. With the win, Oswego moves to 20-6-2 and more importantly earn an automatic qualification to the 2014 NCAA Division III championship.

The Lakers have been to the national semifinals each of the past four seasons and will find out where and who it plays during the NCAA Selection Show on Sunday.

Alex Botten was named the SUNYAC championship's most outstanding player as he distributed five assists and scored the go-ahead goal late to put the Lakers up 6-5. Also named to the all-tournament team were Chris Carr (two goals, one assist), Bobby Gertsakis (one assist as a defenseman) and Matt Zawadzki (40 saves).

In the third period, the Knights tied the game at 5-5 with two goals in the opening 5:30 to complete a four-goal spurt of their own.

This is when Botten scored the go-ahead goal with 10:30 to play. Just under five minutes later, Geneseo made it a nail-biter again, knotting the game at 6-6 with 5:38 to go.

At 17:57, the Knights were caught for roughing that would essentially put the Lakers on the power play for the remainder of the game and eventually gave way to the game winner.