NCAA Semifinal: St. Norbert 4, Colby 3

NCAA Semifinal: St. Norbert 4, Colby 3

Courtesy of Colby Sports Information

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. - The Colby College men's hockey team battled to the end against the top-ranked team in the country, but St. Norbert held on for a 4-3 win in an NCAA Division III Semifinal on Friday night at Herb Brooks Arena.

The Mules allowed two goals in the first three minutes of the game and fell behind 3-0. However, Colby refused to give up and twice cut the lead to one goal. The Mules had a number of solid opportunities to tie the game with the extra attacker in the final minute.
 
J.P. Schuhlen, Cam MacDonald, and Justin Grillo scored goals for the Mules, who end the season at 17-11-2. 
 
Colby loses a terrific senior class of nine players, but returns numerous talented players to keep the program heading in a winning and exciting direction.
 
St. Norbert goes on to meet Salve Regina in the national championship game Saturday at 7 p.m.
 
Game highlights
* One of the two teams was going to lose their unbeaten streak. Colby had come into the game unbeaten (7-0-2) in its last nine games. The Green Knights extended their winning streak to 11 games.
 
* Down 3-0 after the first period, Colby began its comeback at 15:04 of the second period when Schuhlen banged in a rebound from in front. Kienan Scott shot from the left boards and the rebound went off Green Knight goalie T.J. Black. Mark Leprine had the secondary assist.
 
* MacDonald scored on the power play at 17:56 to make it 3-2. Thomas Stahlhuth and Michael Decker had assists. MacDonald took a shot from a tough angle on the right side that beat Black, who may have been surprised that MacDonald took the shot.
 
* The Mules appeared to be ready to tie the game when St. Norbert took a penalty shortly after MacDonald's goal. Unfortunately, St. Norbert's Tanner Froese picked off a pass and used his speed to beat a defenseman to the goal for a short-handed score with just 35 seconds remaining in the period.
 
* The Mules' pride showed in the third period with a number of solid scoring chances and some big saves from goalie Sean Lawrence. Grillo made it a 4-3 game with 5:52 remaining off an assist from Michael Rudolf. Grillo came over the blue line hard and ripped a shot after neither of St. Norbert's defensemen challenged him.
 
* The Mules pulled Lawrence for the extra attacker and had two or three scoring chances in the final minute. The best came when Michael Decker's pass to the middle was re-directed by Mario Benicky on net. Rudolf was right in front and chipped away trying to knock the puck in the goal.
 
By the numbers
* Lawrence stopped 44 shots for the Mules and ended his senior season with 846 saves. 
 
* Colby put the pressure on Black and forced the junior to make 39 saves.