Sophomore Tyler Chestnut stopped 27 of 28 shots and the host Tommies scored two goals in a 10-second span of the third period en route to a 4-1 victory over Wisconsin-Stout in Wednesday night's NCAA men's hockey playoff game in Mendota Heights.
A sellout crowd of 1,000 watched the sixth-ranked Tommies (20-6-2) advance to Saturday's 7 p.m. NCAA quarterfinal game at top-ranked St. Norbert (24-1-4). UST lost in overtime on the road to the Green Knights in mid-January but upset St. Norbert 3-2 in the 2005 NCAA quarterfinals.
St. Thomas, playing its first home NCAA playoff game in eight seasons, got points from nine different players. UST ended a five-game winless streak vs. Stout (0-4-1) dating back to 2004.
St. Thomas has outscored three postseason foes 15-3 and killed off 17 of 18 power plays in that run. UST's four-game win streak is the fourth longest in Division III.
Stout (18-9-3), playing its first NCAA playoff game in school history, took a 1-0 lead 7:08 into the game on Derek Hanson's goal. The Tommies tied the game on freshman Rob Johnson's goal at 16:14 of the first period.
The Blue Devils outshot UST 14-7 in the second period but the game was still deadlocked 1-1 after 40 minutes.
St. Thomas outshot the Devils 18-5 in the decisive third period. Nate Ryan's power-play goal with 10:00 remaining put the Toms ahead to stay. Ten seconds later, Sean Bryant converted on a breakaway chance to push the lead to 3-1. Nick Nelson added a short-handed, empty-net goal with 59 seconds left to lock down the victory.
Nick Pernula, Adam Davis, Ryan Hoehn, Alex Arnason and Tim Kleiman had assists for the Tommies. Pernula now has 100 career points in 70 career games and becomes the 42nd St. Thomas player to hit that scoring milestone.
The Tommies also reached 20 wins. St. Thomas is the lone school this winter in Division III to record 20-win seasons in men's and women's hockey and men's and women's basketball.
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