Women’s Hockey: Norwich and Middlebury Advance in Tournaments

Courtesy Norwich and Middlebury Sports Information Departments

The Norwich and Middlebury Women’s hockey teams both moved on in their conference tournaments on Saturday afternoon. The stories on the two wins follow …

Norwich Advances to NEHC Finals
NORTHFIELD – Junior forward Adrieana Rossini (Malden, Mass.) scored twice to lead the Norwich University women’s ice hockey team to its 10th straight New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) Tournament Championship appearance on Saturday afternoon.

Rossini scored two goals for the third straight game and now has seven in the last four as she has been a tear in the month of February leading the Cadets’ playoff push.

Bryn Labbe (Calgary, Alberta) and Amanda Conway (Methuen, Mass.) each scored a goal as well as Norwich (24-1-3, 14-0-0 NEHC) will look to win its eighth NEHC Tournament title next Saturday when it hosts UMass Boston.

Rossini opened the scoring at the 5:51 mark of the first period with an absolute snipe wrist shot into the top left corner of the net for her 20th goal of the season. Alyssa Hulst (Scarborough, Maine) picked up the assist after sliding the puck up to Rossini to spring her up the ice. Rossini crossed into the zone and fired a wrist shot over the shoulder of Emelie Lindqvist to give Norwich a 1-0 lead.

Plymouth State (9-14-4, 7-5-2 NEHC) got on the board at the 18:34 mark when NU failed to clear its zone and then Kailey Jacobs corralled her own rebound off a blocked shot and then roofed it into the net over NU senior goalie Laurie King’s (Waddington, N.Y.) shoulder to knot the game at 1-1.

Norwich turned up the pressure in the second period, outshooting Plymouth State 24-4, but the Cadets were only able to get one puck past Lindqvist to carry a 2-1 lead into the second intermission.

Rossini once again was the savior with her second of the game and 21st of the season, scoring on a rebound in front of the net after Sarah Schwenzfeier (Hingham, Mass.) set up the play from behind the net. Hulst also picked up her second assist of the game after her initial shot was saved by Lindqvist. Rossini was first to the rebound though as NU crashed the net hard for the power play goal.

Norwich was finally able to muster up some breathing room at the 10:43 mark when Labbe scored on a feed from behind the net by Sophie McGovern (Hermantown, Minn.) to make it 3-1 Cadets with her 14th goal of the season.

Norwich capped the scoring at the 16:53 mark of the third period with Conway netting her team-leading 27th goal of the season off an assist from Samantha Benoit (Bow, N.H.). The assist was Benoit’s 21st of the season.

King made 12 saves in goal for Norwich to improve to 18-1-3 on the season. Lindqvist was brilliant in goal for Plymouth State, stopping 50 shots in the loss.

Norwich finished 2-for-4 on the power play to improve upon its nation-leading player-advantage percentage.

Norwich will face UMass Boston in the final for the second time in the last three seasons. The Beacons upset Norwich 2-0 to win the 2016 NEHC Tournament title at Kreitzberg Arena.

Middlebury Blanks Wesleyan
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury advanced to the NESCAC semifinal round for the 16th time in 17 years after a 5-0 win over Wesleyan (6-15-4) in a quarterfinal game in Kenyon Arena on Saturday. The Panthers (18-4-3) will host the semifinals and finals next weekend, facing Bowdoin at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 3. Connecticut College will meet Amherst in the other semifinal game at 4:00 p.m. The winners meet on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. for the NESCAC Championship.

Middlebury got on the board first, scoring a shorthanded goal 4:32 into the contest. After a puck was mishandled at the right point, Maddie Winslow pounced on the puck and feed it to Jessica Young, who carried it down the ice. Young moved into the right circle before returning a pass to Winslow for a quick one-timer in front. The Panthers nearly went up 2-0 7:50 into the period, but Sidney Portner’s bid hit the post.

Middlebury’s first goal of the second period came at the 3:47 mark when Ellie Barney broke in from the left wing before scoring with a short-side shot. Madie Leidt made it a 3-0 game with a blast from the top of the zone on the power play after taking a pass from Haley LaFontaine at 8:26. The lead continued to grow when Portner capitalized on a rebound just over three minutes later, scoring after Jessica Young’s shot had been saved. The Panthers struck again just after a Wesleyan power play had expired when Leidt took a pass from Winslow before snapping a shot home off the back crossbar.

Neither team scored in the third period as Leidt’s bid for a hat trick at the 8:40 mark hit the crossbar.

Middlebury finished with a 36-10 advantage in shots, as Lin Han became the third goalie to defeat Wesleyan this season, making 10 stops for her sixth shutout of the season. Allegra Grant (31 min, 4 GA, 14 saves) and Sam Smith (29 min., 1 GA, 17 saves) both saw time in the Cardinal net.