BOSTON – The Norwich University men's ice hockey team picked up a convincing 4-1 victory over the defending New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) champions UMass Boston on Saturday afternoon at the Edward T. Barry Ice Rink.
Senior William Pelletier (St. Jean Chrysostome, Quebec) scored twice and had an assist to lead the Cadets' offense as they snapped a three-game losing streak at UMass Boston and a streak of four out the last five on the short end.
Junior Braeden Ostepchuk (Lethbridge, Alberta) kept his perfect record on the season going with 24 saves to improve to 12-0-0.
Norwich (20-1-3, 15-1-1 NEHC) was lethal on the power play, going 3-for-5 in the game with Pelletier tallying two of them. He took over the team scoring lead with the two power play tallies to raise his total to 14 on the season.
The Cadets opened the scoring just 2:07 into the game with Pelletier scoring his first of the day off an assist from Kevin Salvucci (Plymouth, Mass.). Pelletier ripped a slap shot from the top of the slot that beat UMass Boston goalie Jordan Bustard.
NU extended its lead to 2-0 with just two seconds left in the first period when Cody Smith (Hudson, Mass.) tallied his second goal in as many games with a shot from the point that deflected off Bustard's blocker and bounced into the back of the net. Anthony Flaherty (South Boston, Mass.) picked up his first of two assists in the game as well as Pelletier notching the secondary.
UMass Boston (12-8-3, 7-7-2 NEHC) got one back at the 8:30 mark of the second period with Ryan Cusin scoring his 16th goal of the season off assists from Dante Suffredini and Daniel Nachbaur. Nachbaur took an initial shot that was blocked by NU sophomore defenseman David Robertson (Boissevain, Manitoba).
The rebound kicked out to Suffredini in the high slot. He found Cusin wide open at the bottom of the left faceoff circle and the rookie sniper did the rest, burying a quick wrist shot past Ostephcuk before he could get over.
Senior forward Nick Pichette (Massena, N.Y.) scored a huge goal late in the second period to regain the two-goal lead heading into the second intermission at the 17:27 mark. Pichette beat Bustard through the five-hole to become the fifth NU player to reach double-digit goals this season with his 10th off assists from Flaherty and Payton Baldillez (Arlington, Texas).
Pelletier scored his second of the night just 42 seconds into the third period when he capitalized on Tyler Piacentini (South Weymouth, Mass.) winning a battle behind the net and caught Bustard off guard, sliding the puck by him along the ice.
Norwich closes out the regular season next Saturday, Feb. 11 at 4 p.m. at Saint Michael's. The Cadets will host a NEHC Tournament semifinal game on Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. at Kreitzberg Arena.