St. Norbert knows the routine, which they’re just fine with. The Green Knights celebrated their third NCAA Division-III hockey national championship in four years on Sunday, returning to Wisconsin with a brand new trophy after beating UW-Stevens Point 3-1 in Saturday’s title game.
"To finally have that buzzer go, to know we finally get to hold this trophy in our hands,” said St. Norbert senior forward Joe Perry, the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, “best feeling in the world.”
The Green Knights touched down at the Executive Air Terminal at Austin Straubel International Airport early Sunday afternoon. From there, they dropped off gear at Cornerstone Ice Center before their traditional trip to the Abbey Bar in De Pere, where a group of fans waited for their fire truck-escorted bus.
"Very special thing when you see a group of young men do what this group's been able to do,” said SNC head coach Tim Coghlin. “Playing in 3 Frozen Fours, coming with 3 national championships. It's absolutely awesome."
The players on the championship squad, especially the seniors, point to a missed opportunity last year, in their junior seasons as major motivation for this year’s title run. A season ago, the Green Knights fell to eventual-champion UW-Eau Claire, denying them a trip to the Frozen Four.
“[That loss has] been motivation this whole year,” said Perry. “To do it with this group of guys is really special."
A victory over rival Stevens Point in the final game, played in Lewiston, Maine was a fitting end to a season where St. Norbert won a school record 28 times.
"It feels unbelievable,” said senior defenseman Reid Campbell. “It's special. I never would've thought four years ago I'd have 3 national championships. It's definitely a special feeling."