With the victory, the Blackbirds have earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, which begins this coming Thursday, when the Blackbirds will face the University of West Virginia in round one.
“A year ago, we set out to create a memory,” said head coach TJ Kostecky, who is now in his 20th year at the helm. “I’m just so proud of this program.”
Zach Peterson broke the ice with a goal from the right side of the box just eight minutes into the match-up, assisted by Giuseppe Barone and Filip Nordstrom.
After entering halftime with the 1-0 lead under control, the Blackbirds quickly pounced on the Bulldogs, with Peterson recording a second goal in the game’s 50th minute.
The goal was tapped in off a pass from Christoffer Bjarre Solbakken, who along with Erik Johansson was credited with an assist.
The Blackbirds poured it on late with two goals in the last three minutes, attributed to Rasmus Hansen and Solbakken. Peterson and Fredrik Mathisen came up with the assists down the stretch.
“Coaches trusted me,” said Peterson, a junior who netted two goals in the match, his second and third of the season. “They gave me a chance up top, I practiced hard. They put me there and I did the job.”
Peterson, Hansen, Ilin and Johansson were all named to the NEC All-Tournament Team.
Coming off their first regular season title in three seasons, the Blackbirds became the fourth-straight NEC Champion to win the coveted crown on their home pitch. The effort also awards the Blackbirds their fourth NEC title in the conference tournament era, which began in 1989.