Courtesy Norwich Sports Information
RUTLAND – Norwich University men’s ice hockey coach Mike McShane became the seventh coach in NCAA hockey history at any level to record 700 career victories after a 3-0 win over Castleton University on Saturday afternoon at Spartan Arena.
No. 12/15 nationally-ranked Norwich (5-1-1, 5-1-0 NEHC) got a pair of goals from senior forward Paul Russell (Andover, Mass.), while senior forwards Nick Pichette(Massena, N.Y.) and Anthony Flaherty (South Boston, Mass.) added a goal and an assist to lead the Norwich offense. Junior goalie Braeden Ostepchuk (Lethbridge, Alberta) made 24 saves to record his eighth career shutout.
McShane, now in his 22nd year at the helm of the Norwich men’s ice hockey program, also accrued wins at Division I St. Lawrence and Providence before taking over in Northfield for the 1995-96 season. He has a 700-341-65 overall record in 36 years coaching.
After getting thoroughly outplayed for most of the first period, Russell scored his first goal of the season on a quick counter attack rush. Russell received a pass fromCody Smith (Hudson, Mass.) in the neutral zone and sped in from the left wing. He beat his defender and curled toward the net, sliding the puck past Ryan Mulder on his back hand to make it 1-0 Norwich at the 18:43 mark of the first period.
The Cadets extended their lead in the second period, scoring two power play goals before the midway point to increase the lead to 3-0. Pichette scored his sixth of the season at the 4:17 mark of the second period and then Flaherty notched his third a little more than four minutes later to put Castleton completely back on its heels.
Pichette sniped a wrist shot over Mulder’s right shoulder from the left faceoff dot to make it 2-0 off an assist from Flaherty.
Flaherty added to the advantage at the 8:26 mark with a tricky wrist shot that crossed up Mulder and beat him five hole from the top of the left faceoff circle.
Russell capped the scoring with 53 seconds left in the game with an empty net unassisted goal from his own blue line.
Junior defenseman Alec Brandrup (Rochester, Minn.) also notched two assists for Norwich with the outlet pass to Smith on the first goal and the primary assist on Flaherty’s goal.
McShane is 456-123-34 in his 22 seasons at Norwich and he has guided the Cadets to three national championships, 17 NEHC regular season titles, 11 NEHC Tournament titles and 11 NCAA D-III Frozen Four appearances.
Norwich will travel to Plattsburgh, N.Y. for the 19th annual PrimeLink Great Northern ShootOut next Friday and Saturday at the Ronald B. Stafford Ice Arena. The Cadets take on Middlebury at 4 p.m. in the first game of the tournament. Plattsburgh meets 2014 PrimeLink champion Concordia (Minn.) at 7 p.m. in the other first round matchup.