(PHOTO COURTESY OF ADAM HATT)
NORTHFIELD, Vt. – It took awhile for the Norwich men's hockey team to get going on Saturday afternoon against St. Michael's. The Cadets skated to a scoreless draw for the first 20 minutes with the Purple Knights.
But, once Norwich (13-1-1, 9-0-1 ECAC East) finally got one past St. Michael's goalie Mike Dizgun at the 4:23 mark of the second period, the floodgates opened from there as the Cadets lit the lamp seven more times to cruise to the 8-0 victory at Kreitzberg Arena.
Junior forward Pier-Olivier Cotnoir (Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec) jumpstarted the Norwich offense with a power play goal off assists from Travis Janke (Swift Current, Saskatchewan) and Emmond Bell (Nepean, Ontario).
Cotnoir wheeled from his normal position at the point of the NU power play and skated through the slot around a horde of traffic. He flipped the puck back toward the slot after he skated into the left faceoff circle and his shot bounced off a St. Michael's defender's skates to give Norwich a 1-0 lead that it would never look back from.
Just under five minutes later Colin Mulvey (Worcester, Mass.) pushed the lead to 2-0 when he roofed a shot over Dizgun's shoulder short side and into the back of the net with an assist from Tory Allan (Davidson, Saskatchewan).
Cotnoir scored again at the 12:32 mark of the period when he pounced on a loose puck and buried it into a wide open net after he collected a rebound off the back dasher after Bell's initial shot sailed wide of the net.
Chris Duszynski (Okotoks, Alberta) added another tally with 11 seconds left in the second period when he redirected a shot from Francois Gatien (Boucherville, Quebec) from the blue line past Dizgun to make it 4-0 heading into the second intermission.
Currier and McEleney's goals were both the first of their careers in the Maroon and Gold.
Norwich played Saturday's game without five of its normal starters, including its top two goal scorers and team captain Shawn Baker.
Norwich sophomore goaltender Chris Czarnota (Wakefield, Mass.) picked up his fourth win of the season and second shutout after turning aside all 14 shots he faced. Dizgun made 20 saves for the Purple Knights.
The Cadets return to action on Tuesday, Jan. 24 when they host arch-rival Middlebury at Kreitzberg Arena at 7 p.m. in the 143rd all-time meeting between the historic in-state rivals. NU will be looking to extend their recent success against the Panthers as the Cadets hold a 6-2-1 record in the past nine meetings.
Last year Norwich shutout Middlebury 3-0 in the PrimeLink Great Northern ShootOut semifinals and then the two teams battled to a 4-4 tie at Kreitzberg on Feb. 4, 2011 in the ECAC East/NESCAC Interlock league matchup.
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