Men’s Hockey: Big Third Period Carries Cadets Past Cardinals, 6-3

Courtesy Norwich Sports Information

NORTHFIELD – Junior forward William Pelletier (St. Jean Chrysostome, Quebec) continued his torrid scoring pace to start 2016, netting a hat trick as part of a four-point night to lead the Norwich University men’s ice hockey team to a 6-3 upset victory over No. 2/3 Plattsburgh State on Friday night at Kreitzberg Arena.

Tied at 2-2 heading to the third period, Pelletier scored two quick goals 2:51 apart to give Norwich (10-5-0, 6-3-0 NEHC) a 4-2 lead and the Cadets never looked back as they enacted a little revenge after falling 6-5 in overtime to Plattsburgh at the 2015 PrimeLink Great Northern ShootOut title game.

Senior Dean Niezgoda (Brewster, Mass.) and sophomore Justin Charbonneau (Bromont, Quebec) each had a goal and two assists as well to round out the Cadets’ offensive leaders on the night.

Norwich took a 1-0 lead at the 5:36 mark of the first period with junior co-captain Tyler Piacentini (South Weymouth, Mass.) scored a short-handed goal for his fifth of the year to spark the Cadets’ offense early. Piacentini roofed a shot that beat Plattsburgh State goalie Brady Rouleau over the glove and into the right corner of the net.

Plattsburgh (10-2-2, 5-1-1 SUNYAC) responded at the 12:54 mark of the first period with Cole Stallard notching his eighth goal of the season on the power play off a rebound in front of the net. Stallard poked the puck through Braeden Ostepchuk’s (Lethbridge, Alberta) legs to knot the game up at 1-1. Rich Botting and Brandon O’Quinn picked up helpers on the goal after Botting’s intial shot from the point was saved by Ostepchuk.

Plattsburgh took a 2-1 lead at the 1:52 mark of the first period with senior forward Kevin Emmerling scoring from the left wing on a wrist shot off a screen by a NU defender.

Charbonneau tied the game back up at 2-2 with a power play goal of his own for his second goal of the year, finishing off a beautiful setup tic-tac-toe passing pass from Cody Smith (Hudson, N.H.) and Pelletier at the 12:39 mark of the second period.

Pelletier took over in the third period, scoring the first two goals for his fourth and fifth markers of the season. He gave NU the lead again with his first, knocking the puck into the net off a scrum in front with assists to Charbonneau and Niezgoda.

He made it 4-2 by rifling a wrist shot into the top right corner of the net after a picturesque weave setup from Niezgoda and Nick Pichette (Massena, N.Y.).

Niezgoda made it 5-2 with a power play goal at the 11:49 mark of the third period off assists from Charbonneau and Dave Robertson (Boissevain, Manitoba).

Plattsburgh cut the deficit to 5-3 at the 14:02 mark with Michael Radisa slidding a puck in between the post and Ostepchuk’s skate from below the right faceoff circle off assists from Kyle Hall and Chris Taff.

However, that’s as close as Plattsburgh could get as Pelletier put the game away for good with an empty net goal off an assist from Kevin Salvucci (Plymouth, Mass.) with 27 seconds left to seal it.

Ostepchuk made 24 saves to improve to 7-2-0 on the year. Rouleau made 21 stops to fall to 3-1-0 on the season.

Norwich looks to keep the momentum rolling on Tuesday night when it hosts another rivalry matchup with the Middlebury College Panthers coming to town for the 150th all-time meeting between the Cadets and Middlebury.

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