Vikings punch ticket to playoffs with tie at Northland

Lawrence clinched a berth in the NCHA playoffs with a 1-1 overtime tie at Northland.
Lawrence clinched a berth in the NCHA playoffs with a 1-1 overtime tie at Northland.

ASHLAND, Wis. -- Lawrence University took care of business Friday night.

The Vikings needed a win or tie Friday at Northland College to earn a berth in the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs, and Lawrence posted a 1-1 overtime tie at the Bay Area Civic Center.

The Vikings (10-12-2, 8-8-1 NCHA) needed some late heroics in the third period to get the tie. Northland (9-12-3, 6-9-2) took a 1-0 lead on Kalib Ford's goal at the 6:53 mark of the third period.

Lawrence's top offensive players came up big late in the period when Lane King, who leads the NCHA in points, scored with just 3:47 remaining. The conference's leading goal scorer, Josh Koepplinger, and Matt Montemurro picked up assists on the goal.

Lawrence, which had a 40-32 edge in shots, got a superb game in net from goaltender Evan Cline. Cline stopped 31 shots, including one late in overtime, to earn the tie. AJ Smith stopped 39 shots for the Lumberjacks.

Lawrence's game Saturday at St. Scholastica will determine who the Vikings face in the playoffs. If Lawrence wins or ties at St. Scholastica, the Vikings are the third seed and will face Marian in the quarterfinals. A loss means St. Scholastica is the third seed, and Lawrence would then take on St. Norbert in the quarterfinal playoff series.