Women’s Hockey: Norwich and Middlebury Advance With Conference Tournament Wins

Courtesy Norwich and Middlebury Sports Information Offices

Two stories below …

NORTHFIELD –– The Norwich University women’s ice hockey team continued its playoff offensive explosion with a 10-0 victory over No. 7 seed Plymouth State on Saturday afternoon at Kreitzberg Arena in the New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) Semifinals.

Sophomore forward Carley Sedlar (Howell, Mich.) had a six-point night to lead Norwich (21-4-2) to its 12th straight NEHC Championship game appearance. The Cadets will host Suffolk on Saturday, March 7 at 3 p.m. as they look to win their 10th NEHC Tournament title and secure an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.

Suffolk defeated Southern Maine 2-1 to continue its Cinderella NEHC Tournament run as the No. 6 seed.

Sedlar scored a goal and tied the Norwich single-game record with five assists to pace the Norwich offense in the victory. Senior forwards Amanda Conway (Methuen, Mass.) and Sophie McGovern (Hermantown, Minn.) tallied two goals apiece, while freshman Julia Masotta (Tewksbury, Mass.) notched four assists to round out the offensive leaders.

Sophomore goalie Alexa Berg (West Fargo, N.D.) pitched her second straight playoff shutout, stopping all 14 shots she faced for her seventh shutout of the season.

Sophomore defenseman Morgan Tefft (Redwood City, Calif.) opened the scoring at the 4:27 mark of the first period with her first goal of the season to give the Cadets the only lead they would need.

Tefft crashed for a rebound goal on the right side of the net after Olivia Petito made the initial save on Sedlar. Ann-Frederique Guay (St. Lambert-de-Lauzon, Quebec) picked up her first of three assists on the game with the secondary assist.

Conway scored her first of the game and her 27th of the season on a breakaway at the 6:36 mark of the first period to make it 2-0 Norwich. Masotta blocked a shot from the point by a Plymouth State defender and then the puck trickled over to McGovern, who backhanded it out of the zone and sent Conway in all alone. Conway took care of the rest, beating Petito low on the ice on her back hand for the goal.

McGovern made it 3-0 at the 13:21 mark of the first period, tipping a backhand shot by Conway into the back of the net for her 17th goal of the season. Masotta picked up the second assist.

Conway scored just six seconds into the second period with a tremendous individual effort for her 28th goal of the season. She scooped up the puck after Masotta won the faceoff forward and slipped through three Plymouth State defenders before roofing a shot just under the crossbar to make it 4-0 Norwich.

McGovern increased the lead to 5-0 with a redirection goal from the doorstep of the crease to beat Petito five-hole off assists from Conway and Masotta. McGovern’s second goal of the game chased Petito from the net and Becca Bridge came on in relief for Plymouth State.

The Cadets added three more second-period goals on Bridge with Kelley Madden (Novelty, Ohio), Guay and Samantha Benoit (Bow, N.H.) all finding the back of the net.

Sedlar and Ingrid Holstad-Berge (Stavanger, Norway) added third-period goals to cap the scoring in the game.

Norwich had 11 different skaters get on the scoresheet in the victory as the Cadets extended their unbeaten streak to 12 straight games.

Norwich outshot Plymouth State 61-14.

The Cadets will be looking to win their fourth straight NEHC Tournament title on Saturday.

MIDDLEBURY — Top-seeded Middlebury reached the 20-win plateau for the fourth time in the last six seasons, as the Panthers picked up a 4-1 triumph over Trinity kin a NESCAC Quarterfinal on Saturday in Kenyon Arena. With the win, Middlebury (20-2-3) advances to the conference semifinals for the 18th time in last 19 years. The eighth-seeded Bantams finished their season at 8-13-4. The Panthers will take on Hamilton at 1:00 p.m. Saturday, March 7, while Colby meets Amherst in the other semifinal at 4:00 p.m. in Kenyon Arena. The championship game will take place on Sunday at 2:00 p.m.

In the opening period, the teams played a tight defensive game with a limited number of shots on goal. Trinity had a good chance with seven minutes expired when Sierra Lee’s shot in the slot was blocked by Middlebury’s Claudia Vira, with Cassidy McNeeley collecting the rebound and firing a shot just wide of the left post. The Panthers opened the scoring with 8:11 on the clock on Elise Park’s first-career goal on a shot from the point. The tally was set up good work along the left boards by Ellie Barney and Ashley McDonald. The hosts tacked on a 5-on-3 power-play goal in the final seconds, as Madie Leidt wired a shot into the upper corner of the net with 13.6 seconds left before the intermission.

The Bantams cut the margin to a goal with 7:59 remaining in the middle stanza, netting a power-play goal. Ethel Wilhlemsson’s shot from the slot was stopped by Panther goalie Lin Han, but Martha Peppes tucked the rebound into the net to make it a 2-1 contest. The hosts regained their two-goal cushion less than four minutes later when Jenna Letterie’s bid was denied by Trinity netminder Kai-Lilly Karpman. Katie Hargrave dove into the crease after the rebound, jamming the puck over the goal line for a 3-1 lead.

Middlebury pressed to add to its lead in the third frame, as Leidt raced in on goal with a rising shot that was turned aside. She collected the rebound behind the net, sliding a pass to Hargrave on the doorstep with her quick shot being smothered by Karpman. The Bantams had a power play with just over 12 minutes remaining, as Ellie Fellows had the best chance on the advantage with a shot from the right circle that Han corralled. Trinity pulled Karpman for the final 1:01, but Leidt scored into an empty net with 5.3 seconds left for her team-leading 18th marker of the season for the 4-1 final.

Han stopped 20-21 shots in goal for the Panthers, while Karpman had 23 saves. Middlebury held a 27-21 edge in shots as each team converted once on the power play with the Bantams getting four opportunities and the Panthers two.