MIDDLEBURY, Vt. — John Bottoms’ power play goal at 9:38 has staked St. Thomas to a 1-0 lead over Trinity in the first NCAA Division III semifinal at Middlebury. Bottom’s shot from the center point whistled just inside the near post.
St. Thomas senior forward Dustin Lick is in the lineup for the first time since Jan. 21 when he broke his leg in a game against Bethel College. Lick was an All-American in 2004, tallying 41 points. Lick had 23 points through 13 games this season before he was injured.
Each team had eight shots on goal in the first period.
St. Thomas increased its lead to 2-0 at 11:06 of the second, Tommie freshman Ryan Hoehn won the faceoff in the Trinity zone back to Garrett Gruenke. Gruenke’s shot from the near point was deflected by Hoehn, who was cruising through the crease. The puck floated over the shoulder of Trinity netminder Doug Kisielius.
Just two minutes and 18 seconds later, St. Thomas cashed in on another deflection, Colin Greenlees’ shot from the mid-boards was redirected by junior Brady Fougner inside the far post to make it 3-0.
Shots in the second period were 10-7 in favor of St. Thomas.
The Bantams got on the board at 4:37 of the third period when a St. Thomas turnover was collected by Thomas Wenstrom, who skated out from behind the net and let a wrist shot go. Tommie goaltender Zach Sikich made the initial save, but left a rebound in the slot for junior Cameron Finch, who put the puck past Sikich to make it 3-1.
Trinity couldn’t muster a decent scoring opportunity after that. The only chance for either squad was a breakaway by St. Thomas’ Brandon Wilcox with about four minutes to play. Wilcox was able to get Kisielius to commit, but his backhand sailed wide.
Trinity pulled Kisielius with 1:45 to play, and Tommie freshman forward Matt Kaiser scored into the empty net at 18:40.
Trinity outshot St. Thomas 17-8 in the third period.