St. Norbert wins fifth hockey national championship

Posted: 9:51 PM, Mar 24, 2018
Updated: 2018-03-25 19:58:13-04

The St. Norbert College men's hockey team took home the Division III national championship for the fifth time in program history with a 3-2 double overtime win over Salve Regina Saturday.

After jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first two periods on Dominic Sacco and Luke Davison goals, Salve Regina tied things up at 2-2 in the third.

The Seahawks outshot St. Norbert 14-9 in the first overtime, but SNC took a 8-3 shooting advantage in the second overtime. Green Knights goaltender T.J. Black had 41 saves.

Brad Pung, with an assist from fellow captain Tanner Froese, scored the game-winning goal halfway through the second overtime.

Just a day earlier, Pung's hand had been hit by a puck, breaking his middle finger and requiring stitches on both sides of his hand. But that didn't stop the junior from sealing SNC's fifth national championship in program history.

"I feel like that's how it works out all the time, you know, the guy with the injury ends up getting the luck or the bounce or whatever so you know, very fortunate to have scored that goal," Pung said upon returning home Sunday. "There was no doubt in my mind I was playing that hockey game for sure. Everybody dreams of playing in a national championship game and I wasn't going to let a hurt finger get in the way of that."

SNC finished the season with an impressive 12-game winning streak.

"Just kind of chip away. That's been our mentality this entire playoff run," said head coach Tim Coghlin. "That's something the guys came up with and you know, to get to the final four, you've got the top four teams in the country there so you know they're going to be tight games. You know there are going to be some ups and downs and you just count on the trust factor among your guys and the leadership."

"There's no better way than to go out on top and that's what all six seniors all really wanted to do," said Froese. "And we had so much support from the alumni these last couple weeks, last couple days. You know, text messages, emails, all this. They were all behind us, they all supported us, they all gave us little information of like what to do. Basically they told us just enjoy it and you're gonna be just fine, you're gonna go out on top."

The double-overtime result this time around in Lake Placid was much different than in 2010 for St. Norbert, which lost the national title game 2-1 in double overtime to Norwich University that year.

"Big different feel, right?" Coghlin said. "I think we're 8-2 at Lake Placid, and we've won three national championships there now, so it's been a good place for us."