The Lawrence University Men’s Hockey team took on the St. Norbert’s Green Knights on Tuesday. The Vikes were going up against a perennial powerhouse in the Knights, who are currently ranked second in the nation.The first period was dominated by fine goaltending and tenacious defense. Evan Johnson started between the pipes for the Vikings and turned away all 15 shots in the first period.
Kyle Jones, the keeper for the Knights, matched Johnson by keeping the puck out of the Knights net. Both teams had plenty of chances but neither could capitalize.
The second period seemed to be on the same course with eight minutes left in the period, until the Green Knights found themselves on the power play. The Knights capitalized with a shot from the right side by Nick Tabisz at 13:31.
The ensuing face-off put the Vikings right back into the box, and St. Norbert’s went back to work. The Green Knights moved the puck around the perimeter in Lawrence’s zone.
Tabisz then fed Marc Belanger a one timer at the point. The puck passed through a screen and found its way behind Johnson at 14:57 of the second.
With less than two minutes to go in the second the Vikings went on a 5-on-3 power play. The Vikings had several great chances, including a back door play to Masa Takahashi.
But the Knights’ goaltender Jones made a remarkable save. The Green Knights killed off the penalty and took the momentum of a 5 on 3 penalty kill into the third period.
It did not take long for St. Norbert’s to capitalize in the third period. Shane Wheeler came down on Johnson from the left side, made a move to freeze Johnson, stepped across the crease and slid the puck into the net.
The Knights capped off the night with two more power play goals at 4:51 and 6:46 of the third period. Scoring for St. Norbert’s were Sam Tikka and Shawn Overton.
This game was decided by power plays and penalty kills. The Vikings went 0 for 8 on power plays while the Green Knights went 4 for 7. Had the Vikings scored on one of their early power plays or on the 5 on 3 at the end of the second it may have been a different game.
Johnson made 30 saves for the Vikings on 35 shots, with Jimmy Ryan coming in late in the third to face three shots. Kyle Jones of the Green Knights made twelve saves for St. Norbert’s.