College Hockey: Norwich Men and Women Sweep NEHC Championships

Courtesy Norwich Sports Information

Cadets Men Top NEC 4-1

NORTHFIELD – The Norwich University men’s ice hockey team claimed its 12th New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) Tournament title on Saturday night with a 4-1 victory over New England College in front of a packed house at Kreitzberg Arena.


No. 1 nationally-ranked Norwich (23-1-3) got a goal each Alec Brandrup (Rochester, Minn.), Nick Pichette (Massena, N.Y.), Kevin Salvucci (Plymouth, Mass.) and Todd Jackson (Holly Springs, N.C.) as they extended their unbeaten streak to 21 straight games and punched their ticket into the 12-team NCAA Tournament field.


Senior William Pelletier (St. Jean Chrysostome, Quebec) also notched two assists to help lead the Cadets’ offense as they claimed their second NEHC Tournament title in the last three seasons. Norwich will now make its 17thNCAA Tournament appearance overall and seventh in the last eight seasons.


Brandrup gave NU a 1-0 lead at the 11:36 mark of the first period with his fifth goal of the season off assists from Pelletier and Ian Williams (Milestone, Saskatchewan). Pelletier found Brandrup with a cross-ice pass from the left faceoff circle and then Brandrup shot the puck high through traffic that NEC goalie Brett Kilar never saw.


NEC (19-8-0) tied things back up at 1-1 at the 14:03 mark of the first period with Mike Whitehair shoveling a loose puck home off a scrum in front of the crease.


Pichette scored his 11th of the season at the 16:44 mark of the second period to give Norwich the lead for good when he beat Kilar up high again and popped the water bottle to make it 2-1 Norwich. Payton Baldillez (Arlington, Texas) and TJ Dockery (Lockport, N.Y.) picked up the assists on the goal.


Salvucci added the backbreaker for the Cadets at the 14:30 mark of the third period when he wristed home a loose puck off a rebound after Kilar made an initial save on Pelletier. Salvucci swooped in from the right and knocked it into the net for his 18th goal of the season and his fourth of the NEHC Tournament.


Jackson added the empty-net goal with 26 seconds left to seal the 4-1 victory. Paul Russell (Andover, Mass.) made the play though with his hustle and diving effort to get the puck out the zone and spring Jackson to score the goal.


Ty Reichenbach (Billings, Mont.) made 27 saves to pick up his ninth win of the season and improve to 9-1-3. He was also named to the All-Tournament team along with Pelletier and Brandrup from Norwich. Salvucci was named the MVP of the tournament. NEC’s Kilar and Whitehair rounded out the All-Tournament Team selections.


Norwich will now await word in Monday’s NCAA selection show to find out when it will play next. The Cadets were the No. 1 seed in the latest NCAA East rankings, which are used to determine seeding for the tournament. There is a strong chance that the Cadets will receive one of the four byes in the 12-team field and then host a NCAA Quarterfinal game on March 18 at Kreitzberg Arena.

Norwich Women Shutout Manhattanville 5-0

NORTHFIELD – The Norwich University women’s ice hockey team claimed its seventh New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) Tournament Championship on Saturday afternoon with a 5-0 shutout victory over archrival Manhattanville College at Kreitzberg Arena.


Freshman Amanda Conway (Methuen, Mass.) scored a goal and tallied two assists en route to being named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament. Fellow rookie Sophie McGovern (Hermantown, Minn.) scored twice, while junior Sarah Schwenzfeier (Hingham, Mass.) added a goal and an assist to round out the Norwich offensive leaders on the day.


Top-seeded Norwich (22-5-1, 15-2-0 NEHC) claimed its fifth NEHC Tournament title in the last six years with the victory and punched its ticket to the NCAA Tournament for the eighth time in the program’s 10-year history.


Norwich opened the scoring at the 7:13 mark of the first period with junior Kim Tiberi (Raleigh, N.C.)rifling a laser into underneath the cross bar to beat Manhattanville goalie Rose Pijaca and put the Cadets up 1-0.


Norwich carried the 1-0 lead into the first intermission after outshooting the Valiants 12-4 in the opening 20 minutes. Manhattanville (17-9-2) carried the play during the second period, but the Cadets scored a back-breaking goal at the 16:10 mark to extend their lead to 2-0.


McGovern scored her first of the night and 10th of the season off an assist from Conway as she beat Pajica over the shoulder as she was coming across the crease after making a save on Conway. Conway brought the puck behind the net and tried a wraparound, but Pajica made the save and the rebound squirted out to McGovern who fired it home.


Norwich poured it on in the third period, capitalizing on two power play goals to pull away from Manhattanville. Schwenzfeier scored her 18th goal of the season at the 7:56 mark of the third period on the power play. McGovern extended the lead to 4-0 just 1:02 later with her second of the night and 11th of the season coming off assists from Conway and Bryn Labbe (Calgary, Alberta).


Conway capped the scoring at the 11:24 mark of the third period with another power play goal for her team-leading 20th of the season on assist from Desirae Kuhlmann (Swift Current, Saskatchewan).


Conway was joined on the NEHC All-Tournament team by Tiberi, Schwenzfeier and Laurie King (Waddington, N.Y.), who stopped all 12 shots she faced to earn her 18th win of the season and her seventh shutout. Manhattanville’s Nicole Mensi and Zoey Pellowitz rounded out the team.


Norwich will now await word on Monday during the NCAA selection show at 10 a.m. to find out who and where it will play in the NCAA Quarterfinals on Saturday, March 11.