Men’s Hockey: Norwich and Middlebury Head to Primelink With Wins

Courtesy Norwich and Middlebury Sports Information

In the final games before their showdown at the Primelink Great Northern Shootout next Friday the Norwich and Middlebury men’s hockey teams both picked up wins.
Norwich ran their record to 7-0 with a 5-3 win over UMass-Boston on Saturday afternoon, while Middlebury improved to 3-1 with a 5-2 victory at Connecticut College.

Game stories on both games are below:

NORTHFIELD — Despite being out shot 35-14, the Norwich University men’s ice hockey team showed resiliency in a 5-3 victory over UMass Boston on Saturday afternoon at Kreitzberg Arena in New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) action.

Sophomore Brett Ouderkirk (Monkland, Ontario) scored his first goal of the season after leading the Cadets in goals last season with what proved to be the game-winning goal at the 12:21 mark of the third period. Junior Scott Swanson (Wheaton, Ill.) created the scoring chance with a terrific forecheck to ride a UMass Boston player off the puck and feed Ouderkirk crashing on the back door. Ouderkirk shoveled the puck past a sprawled out Beacon goaltender to make it 4-3 Norwich. Gabriel Chicoine (St. Dominique, Quebec) picked up his second of three assists on the night for the secondary helper.

Junior Felix Brassard (St. Jear-sur-Richelieu, Quebec) scored twice, while Maxime Borduas (St. Cesaire, Quebec) had a goal and two assists.

Norwich (7-0-0, 6-0-0 NEHC) opened the scoring at the 3:50 mark of the first period with Brassard scoring his seventh goal of the season on a power play rocket blast from the left face off circle on a one-timer off assists from Chicoine and Coby Downs (Montclair, Calif.).

UMass Boston (3-3-1, 2-2 NEHC) leveled the score at 1-1 with Chris Peters sniping a shot past Norwich senior goalie Tom Aubrun (Chamonix, France) at the 10:07 mark off an assist from goalie Sam Best.

The Beacons took their first lead of the game at the 17:28 mark with Nolan Redler roofing a shot over the shoulder of Aubrun off a pretty pass from Daniel Nachbaur.

Norwich knotted the score at 2-2 with Brassard scoring his second of the game and eighth of the season with another power play goal with just three seconds left in the first period. Brassard shoveled the puck home blocker side off assists from Ouderkirk and Borduas.

Sophomore Noah Williams (Cortland, N.Y.) gave Norwich the lead at the 6:56 mark of the second period, beating Best five-hole off assists from Borduas and Philip Elgstam (Stockholm, Sweden).

UMass Boston leveled the score again just 3:41 into the third period with Ethan Nitkin scoring on the power play off assists from Peters and Davis Browning. Nitkin caught Aubrun cheating off the near post and fired a shot past him from a low angle on the left side.

Borduas capped the scoring at the 18:52 mark of the third period with Chicoine and Downs picking up assists on Norwich’s third power play goal of the game.

Norwich has now won seven straight games to start the season and defended its No. 1 ranking in the country for the second straight week. The Cadets will now head to the prestigious PrimeLink Great Northern ShootOut, hosted by Plattsburgh State next Friday and Saturday. NU will take on Middlebury (3-1-0) in the 157th all-time meeting between the two long time rivals at 4 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 29. The Cadets are 14-1-2 in the last 17 meetings. Plattsburgh State (3-3-1) will take on UW-Eau Claire (6-0-1) in one of the strongest fields in recent PrimeLink history.

The Cadets have won a record 10 PrimeLink ShootOut titles, including last year’s crown at Kreitzberg Arena.

NEW LONDON, CT. — Middlebury scored twice in the first period and never looked back, collecting a 5-2 NESCAC road win at Connecticut College on Saturday. The Panthers (3-1-0, 3-1-0) hit the ice again on Friday, participating in the annual Great Northern PrimeLink Shootout. This year’s event is hosted by Plattsburgh State with the Panthers facing top-ranked Norwich in the opening game at 4:00 p.m.

Middlebury got off to a fast start in Saturday’s contest, taking a 1-0 with just 1:12 expired. Billy Dobensky picked up his first collegiate goal with helpers from Owen Powers and Cole Joslin. The Panthers doubled the lead when Camel goalie Connor Rodericks stopped Conor Breen’s shot from the point, but Antoine Belisle cleaned up the rebound for a two-goal cushion.

Special teams played a big role in the middle period, but neither team was able to cash in. Middlebury muted all three Conn. College power plays, while the Camels successfully killed off two Panther opportunities.

Midway through the third period, Conn. College’s Ryan Petti, the NESCAC’s leading scorer, potted a power-play goal at the 9:47 mark. The Panthers countered with a tally on the man advantage of their own less than two minutes later, when Zach Shapiro tipped in a shot by Powers for a 3-1 cushion.

The Camels pulled back to within a goal with 2:23 remaining when Colin Stevens tallied, but Middlebury’s special-team units weren’t done. Breen recorded a shorthanded goal with 1:26 on the clock and Emack Bentley made it a 5-2 final with a power-play marker 38 seconds later.

Panther goalie Adam Wisco earned the victory with 20 saves, while Rodericks had 35.

Middlebury held a 40-22 edge in shots, including a 15-5 margin in the final period. Each team scored twice on the power play, with the Panthers getting nine chances and the Camels seven opportunities.