The Gustavus men’s hockey team battled valiantly but came up just short in a NCAA Quarterfinal game against St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wis. on Saturday night. The Gusties, who were seeded #2 in the West Region lost to the #1 Green Knights 3-1. Gustavus was attempting to advance to the NCAA Championship Finals for the second consecutive year.
St. Norbert took a 1-0 lead when Shane Wheeler scored just 90 seconds into the game. Gustavus battled back and tied the game at 1-1 when James Leathers at the 10:55 mark of the first period. It appeared the two teams were going to head into the locker room tied at 1-1 when Tyler Allen scored with 11 seconds left in the period to give the Green Knights a 2-1 lead after the first 20 minutes of play.
The second period was played at a very high level with both teams pushing the puck up and down the ice, but both goaltenders came up with several big saves and St. Norbert maintained its slim 2-1 lead after 40 minutes of play.
The furious pace continued into the third period and it appeared that Gustavus had tied the game with five minutes remaining in regulation as Matt Schugel fired a blast that hit the crossbar and bounced down. Schugel and the Gusties celebrated thinking they had tied the game, but the officials ruled the puck had not crossed the goal line. Gustavus called a timeout with 90 seconds left to play and pulled goaltender Josh Swartout for the extra attacker, but St. Norbert scored an empty net goal with one minute remaining giving the Green Knights the 3-1 victory and a berth in the NCAA Championship Finals next weekend in Lake Placid, New York.
The Gusties end their season with a record of 20-7-2.