HANCOCK - Finlandia's men's hockey team held the No. 2-ranked Division III?team in the country for a while, but couldn't get the victory Friday, falling 4-1 in its home opener to St. Norbert College.
The Green Knights, winners of two of the last three national championships, are now in the same league with the Lions after the unification of the eight teams previously known as the Midwest Collegiate Hockey Association and St. Norbert and St. Scholastica, left behind when Wisconsin's state-run Division III schools formed their own league.
The Lions withstood an early flurry, then started generating chances of their own after the Green Knights took three straight penalties, including a five-minute major for a check from behind, but couldn't turn them into any goals.
Finlandia’s Kevin Smith puts a shot on goal during the first period of Friday’s game against St. Norbert at Houghton County Arena. SNC?won 4-1. (DMG photo by Brandon Veale)
St. Norbert got going in the second period, opening the scoring through Michael Hill at 6:59. Joe Perry cashed in twice in a 33-second span to make it 3-0, but Finlandia did pull one back on Scott Vargas's first of the year 18 seconds before the break.
Sam Higgins added an insurance goal for SNC late in the third period.
Troy Chandler stopped 24 shots for the Lions (0-3-0, 0-1-0 NCHA), while Tony Kujava made 19 saves for SNC.
The teams meet again today at 4 p.m. at Houghton County Arena.