That is how long it took St. Norbert to finally score a goal in an NCAA Division III championship game.
St. Norbert made their first championship appearance in 2004, and since then, they have been back every other year. The first two times they had to face Middlebury, and the Panthers shut them out both times, 1-0 at 2:58 of overtime and 3-0, respectively.
They finally scored at 5:53 of the second period today, ending their scoreless streak, and they never looked back.
Now, St. Norbert has a long shutout streak in NCAA playoff action, not letting up a goal in 168:06 since the lone score allowed against St. Thomas early in the second period in the quarterfinals. The Green Knights are the first team to go through the semifinal and final without letting up a goal.
St. Norbert has played Plattsburgh just once before, defeating the Cardinals, 4-1, in the 2004 national semifinals to make their first final appearance
For St. Norbert’s coach, Tim Coghlin, winning in the arena named after Herb Brooks was a special moment.
“When you come to an historic place like this and you’re staying in the Olympic Training Center and you think about the athletes who have been there from all sports, it’s very humbling,” Coghlin said. “And to be in this building and this venue and think about what’s happened here before. Herb Brooks was at my golf tournament for several years before his death.
“I have a photograph in my office of the Miracle On Ice team signed, ‘To Tim, Herb Brooks, Go for it’s a little ironic that we’d go for it for it at the Herb Brooks Arena for the first time.”
This is Plattsburgh’s sixth appearance in the Division III championship final, though the first two in 1986 (an 8-5 loss to Bemidji) and 1987 (an 8-3 win over Oswego) were vacated by the NCAA Committee on Infractions.
Afterwards, Plattsburgh stayed clean and won the national title in 1992 (7-3 over UW-Stevens Point at home) and 2001 (6-2 over RIT). The Cardinals lost in 1990 to Stevens Point in a two-game series, dropping the first game, 10-1, tying the series with a 6-3 win, then losing the mini-game, 1-0. With today’s loss, Plattsburgh goes .500 in Division III championship games.
Plattsburgh also made it to the Division II finals twice, losing both times in 1981 and 1982 to UMass-Lowell, 5-4 and 6-1, respectively.
No Double, Double
Plattsburgh missed out on a chance to win both the women’s and men’s national championship in the same year. The women did their part last night playing at home, defeating Manhattanville, 3-2, for their second consecutive title.
The only other Division III school to pull off the double championship was Middlebury which did it three times in a row, from 2004-2006. Wisconsin is the only Division I team to manage the feat in 2006.
The final count for the championship game was 4,770. This barely beat the mark set in Norwich for the 1999 final game which was 4,733 when Middlebury defeated UW-Superior, 5-0. This was better than the attendance at last year’s Women’s Division I championship game at Lake Placid which drew 3,355 fans.
This put the Lake Placid weekend total at 10,395. Having nearby teams, including Plattsburgh that is just an hour away, certainly helped make the home of the “Miracle on Ice” a grand success for Division III hockey.
The Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) and SUNY Potsdam put on perhaps the best organized NCAA Division III hockey championship weekend. Everything went off without a hitch. The committee was extremely helpful towards the press providing everything they needed at any time from information, press notes, excellent press box and working room, non-stop food, and constantly asked if there was anything we needed.
Plus they greeted all of our questions with a smile along with the answer. Between periods, they engaged the crowd with T-shirt tosses, and on Saturday they had live music and food in front of the Olympic Center before the games.
And when it comes to a hockey tournament, you can’t beat the location.