The two best teams in the nation. Both with storied traditions. It was only appropriate that the NCHA Harris Cup championship showdown between No. 1 Adrian and No. 2 St. Norbert ended up being an overtime thriller.
The Green Knights ultimately prevailed, winning the game a little over three minutes into the extra session. Timmy Nicksic scored the game-winner to lift the Green Knights to a 2-1 win over the rival Bulldogs, who came into the battle riding a 16-game winning streak.
This marked the third time this season the two teams have played an overtime game, and the championship is the 14th in program history for St. Norbert, which has won seven titles in the last nine seasons and has won its last nine games.
Niksic, who is only a freshman, scored on an open shot off an assist from Nick LeSage.
Adrian (24-5) took the early lead, scoring the game’s first goal in the second period when Mathew Thompson scored a back-door goal. The Green Knights (24-4-1) tied the game off a goal by Tanner Froese in the third. It was his 12th goal of the season.
T.J. Black made 26 saves and earned MVP honors for the second consecutive year. The Green Knights held a 36-27 advantage in shots. Kevin Entmaa stopped 34 shots.
The loss at home was the first of the season for the Bulldogs, who are likely to once again join St. Norbert in the NCAA tournament despite falling in the title game.
Another title for the Auggies
Augsburg is the king of the MIAC once again. The Auggies won their third consecutive tournament championship Saturday with a 3-1 win over Gustavus Adolphus in Minneapolis. Augsburg went into the tournament as the third seed. Gustavus was seeded fourth.
Down 1-0 early, the Auggies scored twice in third period to seal the deal on the victory over the Gusties. Eric Brenk tied the game in the second period and Lukas Gillett scored the go-ahead goal in the third. Luke Dietsch capped the scoring for Augsburg, which improved to 18-9.
Gustavus got its only goal from J.T. Walters. Chris Amsden made 45 saves. The Gusties, who won only five games a year ago, finish this season at 12-13-3.
With the championship game win, Augsburg is the first school to win three consecutive MIAC titles and is assured of a trip to the NCAA tournament for the third consecutive year as well. The NCAA bid is the fifth in program history for the Auggies.
Chandler Madry helped lead Augsburg to the win as he dished out his 21st assist of the season. He leads the conference in that category. The goal by Dietsch was his 10th of the year. Nick Schmit got the job done in goal, stopping 26 shots. He won his 17th game, the most in the MIAC, and owns a 2.21 goals-against average.
Blugolds stun Pointers
Wisconsin-Eau Claire was picked to win the WIAC regular-season title. The Blugolds fell short of that goal. Wisconsin-Stevens Point ended up as the champ, but the Blugolds were able to get a sweet dose of revenge Saturday as they stunned the third-ranked Pointers, 3-2, in the Commissioner’s Cup final.
Mac Jansen helped the Blugolds get on the board first with a power-play goal in the first period. The goal was his 11th of the season.
Carter Roo tied the game at 1-1 with a little over a minute left in the second, but Wis.-Eau Claire took the lead at 2-1 in the third off a goal by Todd Koritzinsky. Alex Strand then scored to put the Blugolds ahead 3-1.
The Pointers tried to rally, getting a goal from Luke McElhenie late in the third, but they couldn’t get the equalizer to force overtime as the Blugolds beat the Pointers for the first time this season. The championship is the first for Wis.-Eau Claire since 2014.
Zach Dyment rose to the occasion in his 15th consecutive start, stopping 24 shots. Max Milosek tallied 22 saves.
The Pointers (20-5-3) are still likely headed to the tournament despite the loss, while the Blugolds (16-11-1) are in wait-and-see mode as far their tournament hopes are concerned.