DE PERE, Wis. (WFRV) -The St. Norbert hockey program has won 5 national championships and made it the NCAA title game nine times in the past decade and a half, but with two weeks left in the regular season, the Green Knights are 10-8-2 and in unfamiliar territory.
“We certainly don’t have a target. I don’t think we are ranked in the top 30 in the country anywhere, so it has been a long time since we’ve been in this situation,” said Head Coach Tim Coghlin. “But the reality is you need to win your playoff championship and that doesn’t change for us right now. We have conference games this week up in Duluth and I think we’ve got four conference games left, a total of the five, so things are happening fast.”
St. Norbert started the season 2-7, but have rebounded since late November going 8-1-2 over the past 13 games.
“We’ve had a pretty young team so I think we took a little longer than we had hoped to get oriented with each other and get comfortable in our positions.” Said junior defenseman Jack Thomas. “I think we took a little too much time in that area, but things are starting to come together now.”
The Green Knights haven’t had a losing season in 24 years, and this group doesn’t plan on being the team to break that streak.
“You know we’re real confident in where we are now,” said senior forward Dominick Sacco. “We had a slow start, but we’re trending in the right direction and a lot of good things are to come for the season.”
St. Norbert College is just two years removed from winning their fifth national championship in 2018, and after starting the season with a home-and-home split against the defending national champions from UW-Stevens Point, Coghlin knew this season would be different than the previous ones.
“We knew when we lost as many upperclassmen in multiple years…that’s a lot of NCAA games played and when we opened up the season at Stevens point, we had played just over 500 collective games and they had a roster dressed at almost 1,000” said Coghlin. “So we knew there was going to be a learning curve but we didn’t think that it would take this long to catch on, and if it was one thing we would have fixed it a lot sooner.”
Thomas added, “It was intense for the first little bit and we knew what was expected of us, and it made things a little stressful at times, but we’re starting to figure it out and it feels a lot better now for sure.”
The Green Knights have four of their last five games within the conference starting with St. Scholastica on the road.