Courtesy Norwich Sports Information
NORTHFIELD –– For the second year in a row the Norwich University men’s ice hockey team lost in a shootout in the Northfield Savings Bank Holiday Tournament Championship game.
After skating to a 2-2 tie through regulation and a five-minute overtime period, SUNY Cortland (5-7-1) topped the Cadets 2-1 in the shootout to claim the tournament title.
Louis DiMatteo scored what proved to be the game-winning goal in the fourth round of a five-round shootout to lift the Red Dragons to their fifth straight in-season tournament title in the last six years.
SUNY Cortland senior goalie Nick Modica made 39 saves in the championship to go along with a brilliant 53-save performance in the semifinals en route to earning Most Valuable Player honors.
Norwich (9-2-1, 6-1-0 NEHC) received goals from Brett Ouderkirk (Monkland, Ontario) and Felix Brassard (St. Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec), but it wasn’t enough to help the Cadets end their own holiday tournament title drought, which extended to three straight years. The Cadets lost to Endicott College in a shootout last season and the Univ. of New England 1-0 in the 2018 tournament.
Ouderkirk and Brassard both earned All-Tournament team honors, but they were denied by Modica in the fourth and fifth round of the shootout to clinch the title for SUNY Cortland.
Norwich freshman forward Philip Elgstam (Stockholm, Sweden) was the lone Norwich player to score in the shootout, kissing a shot off the inside of the left post in the second round to give the Cadets a 1-0 lead after two shooters. Elgstam scored just moments after his older brother Douglas Elgstam was denied by NU senior goalie Tom Aubrun (Chamonix, France).
SUNY Cortland responded though with goals by its next two shooters with Sean Perichak sniping a shot over the glove of Aubrun to tie the shootout at 1-1. Norwich’s Gabriel Chicoine (St. Dominique, Quebec) was stoned by Modica in the bottom of the third round as the puck just slid wide of the left post.
DiMatteo scored stick side on Aubrun in the fourth while Ouderkirk and Brassard couldn’t beat Modica to send the Red Dragons’ bench pouring onto the ice to rush their goaltender.
Cortland opened the scoring at the 7:02 mark of the first period with Matt Jahn scoring off assists from Ethan Homitz and Luca Esposito.
Norwich leveled the score just over three minutes later when Ouderkirk scored his third of the season and second in as many games with wrist shot that beat Modica. Freshman defenseman John Banovetz (Eagle River, Alaska) made a terrific play to steal the puck away from a Cortland player on the blue line and then found Ouderkirk with a pass on the right wing.
Cortland regained the lead just 49 seconds into the second period with Logan Blasler scoring his seventh goal of the season and second of the tournament.
Norwich tied the game again with 10:26 to play in the third period with Brassard scoring his 11th goal of the season on a rebound in front of the net. Connor Swystun (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) had the initial shot from the blue line that was saved by Modica but Brassard was able to jam home the rebound and tie the game at 2-2. Philip Elgstam picked up the second assist on the goal.
Aubrun made 20 saves for Norwich to move to 9-2-1 on the season. Norwich outshot Cortland 41-22, including a 19-9 edge in the second period and a 3-0 edge in overtime.
SUNY Cortland pulled off a miraculous weekend, beating No. 6 Salve Regina 5-4 in the semifinals and then beating No. 4-ranked Norwich in a shootout to claim the title.
Salve Regina beat Assumption 4-1 in the consolation game earlier on Saturday.
Cortland’s DiMatteo, Homitz and Blasler, as well as Salve Regina’s Eric Lipa rounded out the All-Tournament team selections.
Norwich will host Plattsburgh State on Tuesday, January 7th at 7 p.m. in Kreitzberg Arena in a non-conference matchup.