Men’s Hockey: Norwich Blasts Castleton in NEHC Quarterfinal ; Middlebury Clinches Home Playoff Game With Win Over Hamilton ; St. Mike’s Second Seed in NE-10 After Tie With Stonehill

Courtesy Norwich, Middlebury and St. Michael’s Sports Information Offices

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NORTHFIELD –– The Norwich University men’s ice hockey team opened up the New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) Tournament with a dominant 9-0 performance over Castleton University on Saturday night at Kreitzberg Arena.

Norwich (22-2-2) had four-point nights from sophomores Gabriel Chicoine (St. Dominique, Quebec) and Brett Ouderkirk (Monkland, Ontario) as the Cadets ended Castleton’s season for the eighth time in the last nine years at Kreitzberg Arena.

Senior goalie Tom Aubrun (Chamonix, France) extended his NCAA Division III record consecutive shutout streak to 452:31 straight minutes with his seventh straight shutout and his 11th of the season. Aubrun stopped all 19 shots he faced to record his 18th career shutout.

Norwich advances to the NEHC Semifinals for the 11th straight season where it will meet Southern Maine on Saturday, Feb. 29 at 7 p.m. The seventh-seeded Huskies upset Babson 3-2 to punch their ticket to the semifinal round.

The Cadets opened the scoring just 3:38 into the game with senior forward Jordan Hall (Anchorage, Alaska) scoring the game-winning goal for the third straight game. Hall, the reigning NEHC Player of the Week extended his goal-scoring streak to four straight games with his 10th goal of the season.

Hall converted on a beautiful setup from Ouderkirk and Connor Swystun (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) with a laser one-timer off the cross bar and in from the top of the slot.

Taeron Lewis (Winnipeg, Mantioba) scored his first of two goals in the game with a low wrist shot into the right side of the next after using a Castleton player as a screen to make it 2-0 Norwich at the 14:00 mark of the first. Lewis scored off assists from Ouderkirk and Chicoine.

Norwich increased the lead to 4-0 in the second period with two goals from Maxime Borduas (St. Cesaire, Quebec), who played in his first game since Nov. 29.

Borduas’ first goal came on the power play just seven seconds into the second period as he took a pass from Chicoine and skated into the zone and fired a wrist shot high from the top of the right faceoff circle. Coby Downs (Montclair, Calif.) picked up the second assist after winning the faceoff to start the period.

Borduas hooked up with Chicoine and Downs again on the fourth goal just 2:54 later with another wrist shot that beat Castleton’s Brandon Collett up high for his sixth goal of the season.

Norwich added five more goals in the third period with two more on the power play after Castleton was whistled for 11 penalties and 49 minutes. The Cadets went 3-for-8 on the power play with Jack Griffin (Duxbury, Mass.) and Lewis scoring with the man-advantage.

Bradeyn Aubin (Woodstock, Ontario), Ryan Boucher (Fitchburg, Mass.) and Brett Ouderkirk all scored third period goals as well.

Collett made 32 saves before being pulled in the third period after giving up five goals. Kyle Alaverdy came on to make five saves on nine shots.

Norwich had 13 different skaters on the scoresheet as it scored the most goals in a single game all season. The nine goals scored are the most NU has scored since also putting up 9 on Jan. 13, 2017 vs. Daniel Webster.

In other quarterfinal action, Hobart defeated Skidmore 4-2, while New England College beat UMass Boston 4-1. Hobart will host New England College next Saturday in the other semifinal matchup.

MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury erupted for a season-high six goals, as the Panthers posted a 6-0 shutout victory over Hamilton on Saturday on the final day of the regular season. Middlebury (10-11-3, 7-8-3) clinched the fourth seed in the upcoming NESCAC Tournament and will host Wesleyan in a quarterfinal on February 29, while the Continentals (11-9-4, 10-6-2) are seeded third and will entertain Bowdoin on the same day.

The hosts came out strong, scoring three times in the opening eight minutes of the contest. Mitchell Allen tucked in a power-play goal off a rebound on a shot by Antoine Belisle at the 4:37 mark. Just 1:46 later, Connor Breen one-timed a shot from the right circle past Hamilton goalie Anthony Tirabassi for a 2-0 cushion. Owen Powers increased the margin to three, potting a shorthanded marker with 12:01 on the clock with Breen making a sweeping pass from the ice to set up the tally. The Continentals came close to getting on the scoreboard with 8:38 on the clock when Nick Ursitti’s shot got behind Middlebury netminder Brian Ketchabaw, but the puck was cleared off the goal line by a Panther player.

The hosts got off to a quick start in the middle stanza as well, scoring just 33 seconds into the frame. Paddy Bogart collected the puck at the right post after a shot by Powers from the between the circles was blocked, depositing his third goal of the season into the net. The visitors threatened on a power play in the later stages of the period. Sterling Bray’s shot from the bottom of the right circle was stopped by Ketchabaw and went straight up in the air, but Middlebury’s Billy Dobensky batted the puck out of harm’s way as the hosts led 4-0 after 40 minutes of play.

Ketchabaw made two big pad saves midway through the final period, denying Fred Allaire’s shot from the left side and Joey Moore’s bid in the slot after a turnover. The Panthers iced the contest with a pair of late tallies, starting with a power-play marker with 7:31 remaining. Alex Heinritz backhanded a rebound on a shot from the point by Brendan Dawson, while Danny Tighe closed out the scoring with less than five minutes left on a feed in the slot from Cole Joslin.

Middlebury’s penalty killing unit had tremendous final 20 minutes, killing off three penalties, including a major for the final 4:11 of the contest.

Ketchabaw stopped all 29 shots he faced, giving him a pair of shutouts against Hamilton this season. Tirabassi finished with 14 saves, as the Continentals held a 29-20 advantage in shots.

Middlebury had a big afternoon on special teams, going 2-5 on the power play, while killing off all six Hamilton power plays with a shorthanded goal.

SOUTH BURLINGTON — The Saint Michael’s College men’s ice hockey team overcame a two-goal deficit to draw Stonehill College, 3-3, on Saturday at Cairns Arena to wrap up the regular season on Senior Day during Northeast-10 Conference action. The teams will meet again next Saturday at Cairns Arena at 4 p.m. in an NE10 Championship semifinal, with the Purple Knights claiming the No. 2 seed and the Skyhawks sitting as No. 3.

· Saint Michael’s (15-8-3, 11-5-2 NE10), Stonehill (11-11-5, 8-6-4 NE10)

· Junior Niall Foster (Newmarket, N.H./Walpole Express), 1 goal, 1 assist, 10-for-23 faceoffs
· Junior Paul McAuliffe (Newton, Mass./Kimball Union Academy), 1 goal, 1 assist
· Junior Zach Sullivan (Weymouth, Mass./Walpole Express), 1 goal, 1 assist
· Junior Sel Narby (Huntington, N.Y./Connecticut Junior Rangers), 1 assist
· Senior Tim Decker (Liverpool, N.Y./Canterbury School), 23 saves
· Senior William Santangeli (Oakville, Ontario/Saint Mark’s School), 10-for-12 faceoffs
· First-year Matt Schreiner (Falmouth, Mass./Walpole Express), 8-for-12 faceoffs
· Junior Thomas Flack (Toronto, Ontario/Saint Michael’s Buzzers), 9 faceoff wins
· Sophomore Colin O’Connor (North Haven, Conn./Connecticut RoughRiders), 3 blocks

· Junior Kayser Raei, 1 goal, 1 assist
· Junior Kyle Woodruff, 1 goal
· Sophomore Charles Page, 1 goal
· Sophomore Chase McKay, 49 saves

· The Purple Knights celebrated their three seniors after the game in Decker, Santangeli and Hadan Jordan (Colorado Springs, Colo./Boston Bandits).
· The Purple Knights overcame a two-goal deficit to earn a point for the third time in six games.
· The Purple Knights extended their unbeaten streak to six games (5-0-1), their longest since the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons, with four of the wins comeback victories.
· Saint Michael’s outshot Stonehill, 52-26, including 37-6 in the first two periods.
· The Purple and Gold’s eight overtime games this season ties the 2018-19 team for the most in program history. While that team was 1-3-4 in extra sessions, this year’s squad is 4-1-3.

· The Skyhawks took the lead 2:56 into the first period when Woodruff stole the puck in the neutral zone and passed to senior James Varney, who passed right back to Woodruff, whose shot went to the top left corner.
· Stonehill extended the lead with 12:13 gone on a 3-on-2 opportunity that gave Raei a passing lane from the right side boards to Page at the left post for a one-timer past Decker.
· The Purple Knights got on the board 17:29 into the period when a shot from the blue line by Sullivan was tipped into the back of the net by Foster.
· With 6:50 gone in the second period, Raei had a breakaway toward the Purple Knight net and tried a backhanded shot, but Decker used his left pad to stop the scoring opportunity.
· The Purple Knights tied the game up 1:56 into the third period when McAuliffe scored a shorthanded goal after Foster stole the puck in the Skyhawk zone and passed to McAuliffe on the left post.
· Saint Michael’s took a lead for the first time with 8:51 gone when McAuliffe made a pass from the right side boards into the crease and Sullivan directed it into the back of the net.
· The Skyhawks tied the game 16:52 into the period when senior Colin Quinn intercepted a pass and took a shot that was saved, but Raei was there to hit in the rebound.
· With 2:45 gone in overtime, a shot by Woodruff in the slot hit Decker’s facemask and went out of play.
· The Skyhawks went on a power play for the final 1:19 of overtime but were unable to score after junior Ethan Hendrickson (Budd Lake, N.J./New Jersey Rockets) blocked a shot and Decker made a save in the closing seconds.

· Saturday vs. Stonehill, 4 p.m. in NE10 Championship semifinal.