Courtesy Norwich Sports Information
ADRIAN, Mich. – For the third time in the last four seasons the Plattsburgh State Cardinals have knocked the Norwich University women’s ice hockey team out of the NCAA Tournament.
Plattsburgh State (27-1-1) scored two power play goals in a penalty-filled game en route to advancing to the Division III National Championship for the fourth straight season. The Cardinals are the three-time defending national champions, beating NU 9-2 in the championship in 2014 and then downing the Cadets 4-2 in the semifinals in 2015.
Norwich (23-6-1) got a career-high 46 saves from Laurie King (Waddington, N.Y.),but it wasn’t enough to stave off the powerful Plattsburgh State offense as the Cardinals extended their unbeaten streak vs. the Cadets to 13 straight games.
Senior defenseman Erin Brand scored twice, while junior forwards Melissa Sheeran and Kayla Meneghin each tallied a goal to lead the Plattsburgh State offense in their third victory over Norwich this season.
Sheeran gave Plattsburgh State the lead at the 9:25 mark of the first period with a power play goal for her nation-leading 32nd goal of the season. Brand picked up the primary assist after she sent the puck towards the net and it deflected out to the right faceoff circle. Sheeran collected the puck and sent a wrist shot through traffic to beat King five-hole and give the Cardinals a lead that they would never look back from. Megan Crandell picked up the secondary assist.
The Cardinals capitalized again on the player advantage at the 13:47 mark of the second period with Brand rifling a wrist shot over King’s shoulder from the top of the left faceoff circle off assists from Jordan Lipson and Sheeran.
Meneghin provided the proverbial dagger with nine seconds left in the second period with spin-o-rama shot that beat King under her left pad from the middle of the slot just after Norwich had a power play expire. The goal was Meneghin’s 19th of the season with Ashley Songin and Crandell notching assists.
Brand capped the scoring at the 3:48 mark of the third period with Brand ripping a slap shot from the point that deflected off a NU player’s stick and kicked up over King’s pad to make it 4-0 Plattsburgh State. Melissa Ames and Muna Fadel picked up the assists on the goal.
Plattsburgh State outshot Norwich 50-21, including a 22-10 advantage in the second period and a 16-7 edge in third period.
The Cardinals will now play the Adrian/Gustavus Adolphus winner Saturday night at Arrington Arena in pursuit of their fourth straight national championship. Norwich had its eight-game winning streak snapped with the loss and will now face the Adrian/Gustavus Adolphus loser in the Third Place Game at 3 p.m. on Saturday.
Norwich is now 10-8 all-time at the NCAA Tournament with three of its losses coming to Plattsburgh State.