Men’s Hockey: Norwich tops Southern Maine 4-2 in NEHC opener

Men’s Hockey: Norwich tops Southern Maine 4-2 in NEHC opener

NORTHFIELD, Vt. – The Norwich University men's ice hockey team opened up the 2016-17 New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) regular season with a 4-2 victory over Southern Maine on Friday night at Kreitzberg Arena. 

The Cadets got a goal and an assist each from senior forward Austin Surowiec (Louisville, Ky.) and Connor Evangelista (Wakefield, Mass.), while William Pelletier (St. Jean Chrysostome, Quebec) added two assists to lead the offense on the night. 

Senior goaltender Ty Reichenbach (Billings, Mont.) picked up the victory in goal, turning aside 17 shots to improve to 1-0-1 on the year. 

After a scoreless first period, Norwich (1-0-1, 1-0-0 NEHC) opened the scoring with junior defenseman Connor Evangelista (Wakefield, Mass.) finding the back of the net off a deflection through traffic in front. Pelletier and Jake Erickson (Stillwater, Minn.) notched assists on the goal coming at the 2:02 mark of the middle stanza. 

Southern Maine (1-1-0, 0-1-0 NEHC) tied the game back up at the 15:54 mark of the second period with Brendan Murphy scoring an unassisted goal, firing a shot into the bottom corner of the net. The puck kicked out from a battle along the boards and Murphy was wide open in the middle of the slot. 

Norwich took the lead for good at the 5:25 mark of the third period with sophomore forward Cam Beecy (Stowe, Vt.) scoring his first career goal with a back hand shot that beat USM goalie Kyle Shapiro to make it 2-1 Norwich. Evangelista and Nick Pichette (Massena, N.Y.) notched assists after Evangelista dished a pass to Pichette who rushed the puck up the left side. He then dumped it into the zone and Beecy went to work on the forecheck, lifting the stick of a USM defender behind the net, stealing the puck and wrapping it around the back side of the net before sliding it past Shapiro. 

The Cadets added to their lead at the 12:00 mark of the third period with freshman forward Todd Jackson (Holly Springs, N.C.) scoring his first collegiate goal on a power play to make it 3-1 Norwich. 

Jackson potted home a rebound after an initial shot from the point by Cody Smith (Hudson, Mass.) was saved and the rebound kicked out to Surowiec, who slid the puck down to Jackson at the left corner of the crease and he put it home. 

Southern Maine drew to within one again when Cole Klippenstein made a nifty individual effort to slice threw three Norwich defenders and then slipped the puck on his backhand through Reichenbach's five-hole. Shapiro picked up the assist on the goal. 

Norwich iced the game with a power play goal by Surowiec with 11.6 seconds left after he fired a rebound past Shapiro off assists from Pelletier and Ty Piacentini (South Weymouth, Mass.). 

Norwich outshot Southern Maine 44-19 on the game. Shapiro made 40 saves for USM to fall to 1-1-0 on the year. 

Norwich went 2-for-8 on the power play, while Southern Maine went 1-for-6. The Huskies were whistled for 10 penalties for 50 minutes, while NU had eight for 16. 

Norwich will look to sweep the weekend on Saturday when it hosts Daniel Webster at 4 p.m. at Kreitzberg Arena in the first-ever meeting between the two schools in men's ice hockey.