Compiled by D3hockey.com staff --
ADRIAN, Mich. -- Friday night's match-up between No. 1 St. Norbert and No. 3 Adrian was pegged as the game of the week and certainly lived up to its billing as the host Bulldogs rallied from a 2-0 second period deficit to force overtime and ultimately prevailed when junior defenseman Cory Dunn scored 2:13 into the extra session.
The win puts Adrian (16-4-0, 12-1-0 NCHA) two games ahead of St. Norbert in the NCHA league race and firmly in control of its destiny as far as securing home ice throughout the Harris Cup Playoffs.
St. Norbert (15-4-1, 10-3-0 NCHA) got on the board first when Dominick Sacco finished off a pass from Nick LeSage 6:32 into the opening period. Though both teams had power play chances later on, Sacco's tally marked the only goal of the frame and the opening 20 ended with the Green Knights up 1-0. It was a strong period for St. Norbert as it effectively plugged up the neutral zone and kept the game largely out of transition situations. The period ended with the Green Knights holding a 15-12 shot advantage.
It took just 52 seconds of the second period for St. Norbert to extend its lead as Riley Christensen found Brad Pung waiting on the weak side and Pung beat Adrian goaltender Kevin Entmaa to make it 2-0 Green Knights. The period rolled on from there in largely the same fashion as the first -- up until the 7:01 mark when Adrian's Braden Hellems received a five minute major and game misconduct for contact to the head.
After a St. Norbert minor penalty from the same incident expired, the Green Knights had three minutes of power play time and a golden opportunity to put Adrian in a deep hole, but the Bulldogs' penalty killers turned in an extremely strong effort and kept St. Norbert off the board.
At that point the game started to open up as the transition game of both teams became more prominent and Adrian slowly began to assert itself. The Bulldogs finally got on the board at the 12:56 mark of the period when Trevor Boyd superbly redirected a Cameron Cooper shot from the right point past St. Norbert netminder T.J. Black.
Adrian's assertiveness remained a constant through the end of the period though it ended with the Bulldogs still trailing, 2-1, despite posting a 13-4 shot advantage in the frame.
Both teams again had power play chances in the latter stages of the period though both again came up empty. Perhaps surprisingly, special teams were of minimal consequence on the night as all goals were scored at even strength. Adrian finished 0-for-5 with the man advantage while St. Norbert finished 0-for-4.
Adrian again outshot St. Norbert in the third period, this time by a 17-8 margin, and the continuously mounting pressure again paid off when Chase Matson redirected a Taylor McCloy shot into the back of the net to draw the Bulldogs square at 2-2 with 8:16 to play. Both teams generated some quality looks down the stretch but neither was able to find the game-winner and the stage was set for overtime.
In the extra session, the Green Knights opened strong and put four shots on Entmaa in the opening 90 seconds, but it was Dunn's shot through traffic from the right point -- Adrian's only shot in overtime -- that found the back of the net and lifted the Bulldogs to the 3-2 win.
Despite getting dinged with the loss, Black turned in a strong performance in goal for St. Norbert and finished the night with 40 saves. The loss marks the third straight for the Green Knights, who are now mired in just their second three-game losing streak since 1997.
For the victors, Entmaa finished with 29 saves to get the win, while Matson added an assist to go with his goal and Joey Colatarci finished with two assists.
Friday's meeting wrapped up the regular season series between the two at a win apiece as St. Norbert claimed a 4-3 (ot) win on November 11. While fans will have to wait for the postseason for a potential rubber match, the season rolls on for both clubs on Saturday as St. Norbert travels to Trine and Adrian plays host to Finlandia.