STEVENS POINT, Wis. - Setting the bar as high as the St. Norbert College men’s hockey program has since Tim Coghlin took over as head coach 25 years ago makes a night like Saturday a little tougher to swallow.
For most teams, a 23-5-3 campaign and winning a game in the NCAA Tournament would be a season that would go down in the record books. For the Green Knights, the 3-0 loss at No. 1 UW-Stevens Point is a tough end to the winter with no more games left to play.
“It’s tough for your senior class when they have been to three Frozen Fours and the opportunity is before you, but I think the better team won the game tonight,” Coghlin said. “I think Stevens Point had an excellent game plan and executed it very well.”
The first period was carried by the Pointers, who tallied a 12-8 advantage in shots in the first 20 minutes, with a handful of SNC chances coming in the final 90 seconds. The home team found the net first, making it 1-0 at the 16:24 mark.
The second period was more of the same, with the Green Knights unable to take advantage of a handful of quality scoring chances that could have swung momentum.
“We thought we were going to be able to do a couple of things differently than how it transpired,” Coghlin said. “Missed opportunities in some ways – we missed the net a lot. TJ (Black, the SNC goalie) was under siege for a large part.”
Down 2-0 in the second, the third goal of the game was crucial for either side and would determine the fate of the contest. It went the way of the Pointers, with a rebound right in front of the net taking an agonizingly slow hop up and over Black’s shoulder to make it 3-0 with just over 2 minutes left in the second.
“It was a little fortunate, I think,” Coghlin said of the goal. “But when you work hard, you get those chances and it certainly swung the pendulum I would say.”
For the game, Point tallied advantages of 57-48 in shots and 35-17 in shots on goal.
“This is a special group of seniors for sure,” Coghlin said. “The way we walked into the rink tonight, the expectation for this group is to get to a Frozen Four. This doesn’t define [the senior class]. Point was the better team tonight and we wish them well in the Frozen Four.”
-Story by Chris Zills/NCHA