ASHWAUBENON, Wis.--Senior alternate captain Chris Leone was credited with the game-winning goal late in the third period to lift visiting Adrian College over St. Norbert College, 5-4, on Friday at the Cornerstone Community Center in a Northern Collegiate Hockey Association battle of the nation's top-two ranked teams in NCAA Division III.
With the win, the No. 2 Bulldogs (15-1-1, 11-1-1 NCHA South) extend the longest unbeaten streak in NCAA men's hockey this season at 16 games; capture their 12th victory in a row; defeat a No. 1 opponent for the first time in four tries; and take their fourth in a row over the Green Knights (13-2-1, 9-2 NCHA North).
With an offensive zone face-off, Adrian won the draw to the left point where blueliner Leone sent a shot on goal through traffic that got behind St. Norbert goalie Tony Kujava (24 saves, 10-1) for the game-winner with just 2 minutes and 17 seconds remaining.
St. Norbert pulled Kujava for the final 53 seconds in favor of an extra attacker, but could not get the equalizer to send the contest into overtime.
Michael Hill led the Green Knights with a pair of goals, both on the power play, and an assist.
In the third period, Pijus Rulevičius committed a 2-minute boarding penalty at 4:06 to put the Bulldogs on the man-advantage and junior Jeremy Olinyk cashed in five seconds later with his ninth goal of the season to give Adrian a 4-3 lead. Freshman Trevor Boyd and junior Brett Pinkerton earned the assists.
St. Norbert, however, knotted the score at 4-all at the 15:38 mark as team captain Erik Cooper flipped a shot over Adrian junior goalie Tyler Parks (27 saves, 5-1-1) with Ross Pavek and Hill getting the assists.
In the second period, St. Norbert erased a one-goal deficit in 32 seconds as Hill and Riley Christensen had back-to-back tallies that started at the 15:13 mark. The Green Knights took their only lead of the evening at 3-2.
Hill was able to cut the lead in half late in the opening period, as Adrian took a 2-1 advantage into the first intermission.
The Green Knights held a slim 31 to 29 shots on goal advantage.
In this highly-anticipated match-up that had an NCAA Tournament feel, both teams played physically with both being whistled for 11 infractions and 22 penalty-minutes. The Bulldogs went 1-for-7 on the power play and the Green Knights, 2-for-7.
These same two teams meet again at 5:05 p.m. Eastern on Saturday.