St. Norbert College advanced to the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Division III Men's Ice Hockey Tournament for the eighth time in nine years with a hard-fought 4-3 win over Adrian College in a first-round game at the Cornerstone Community Center in Green Bay, Wisc., Wednesday night.
The Green Knights improved to 22-3-3 with the win and will face Gustavus Adolphus College (20-6-2) at 7:00 p.m. Saturday in a national quarterfinal game at the Cornerstone.
Adrian, making its first NCAA Tournament appearance, finishes 24-4-0.
St. Norbert built a 4-1 lead, but had to withstand a late Adrian flurry to advance. Adrian cut the deficit to 4-2 when Mike Dahlinger put home a rebound on a power play with 10:47 gone in the second period. That score held up until there was 3:41 remaining in the game when the Bulldogs' Mike Towns had the puck bounce off his shoulder in front of the net for a goal.
Adrian pulled goaltender Brad Fogal with 55 seconds remaining, but did not get a quality look with the extra attacker. There was a face-off in the St. Norbert defensive zone with five seconds left, but the Green Knights won the draw and ran out the clock.
After Adrian's Chris Stansik opened the scoring with a low shot from the right circle at 10:14 of the first period, St. Norbert's offense got rolling. Cody Keefer's wrister from the right slot squared the game at 1-1 at the 17:52 mark of the first.
Dustin Walz's blast from the blue line for his first goal of the season put St. Norbert ahead 2-1 at 2:07 of the second. Matt Boyd answered 1:14 later when he finished off a pretty passing combination with assists from Tyler Allen and Shane Wheeler. Brandon Longley then found himself in the right place at the 8:56 mark, when a centering pass from Mike Bernardy found Longley's chest-level stick and was redirected in for a 4-1 lead.
The Green Knights dodged a major bullet midway through the third period when they had to kill off a 5-on-3 Adrian power play. St. Norbert's Dylan Exton was called for elbowing at 8:52 and Walz followed with a cross-check at 9:49. The Green Knights killed the first penalty and then Dahlinger was slapped with an interference penalty at 11:12 to send the action to 4-on-4.
St. Norbert, which had two assists from Alain Joanette, outshot Adrian 31-19 and held a 4-3 shots edge in the third period.
B.J. O'Brien made 16 saves for St. Norbert, which was 0-for-3 on the power play.
Adrian was 1-for-3 on the power play. Fogal made 27 stops for the Bulldogs, including 14 in the first period.