SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. – The Norwich University men's ice hockey team closed out the 2016-17 regular season in style with a decisive 6-0 shutout victory in the last-ever NEHC meeting between the Cadets and St. Michael's on Saturday night.
Senior William Pelletier (St. Jean Chrysostome, Quebec) had a goal and three assists, while Tyler Piacentini (South Weymouth, Mass.) and Kevin Salvucci (Plymouth, Mass.) each posted a goal and two assists to lead the Cadets' offense on the night.
Unanimous No. 1-ranked Norwich (21-1-3, 16-1-1 NEHC) extended its unbeaten streak to 19 straight with the victory and will now have a first round bye in the NEHC Tournament. The Cadets will host the lowest remaining seed on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. in a NEHC Semifinal matchup at Kreitzberg Arena. No. 2 New England College will host No. 7 Southern Maine, No. 3 Babson hosts defending champion and No. 6 seed UMass Boston, while No. 4 Castleton hosts No. 5 Skidmore in the three quarterfinal round matchups.
Piacentini gave Norwich the only lead it would need at the 9:09 mark of the first period with a rebound power-play goal off an assist from Pelletier and Cody Smith (Hudson, Mass.) to make it 1-0 Cadets.
Freshman Taeron Lewis (Winnipeg, Manitoba) increased the lead to 2-0 just 30 seconds into the second period with a goal off a 2-on-1 rush with Piacentini.
Salvucci made it 3-0 just over two minutes later when he carried the puck into top of left circle and fired a shot off the middle of the left post and in at the 2:39 mark. The goal was his 14th of the season to tie Piacentini.
The Cadets kept the pressure up in the third period, adding three more goals. Freshman Ian Williams (Milestone, Saskatchewan) scored his sixth of the year at the 11:07 mark with one-timer into the right corner of the net off a feed across the slot by Pelletier.
Pelletier made it 5-0 at the 14:15 mark with a snap shot into the top left corner of the net from the middle of the right circle off a pass from Salvucci.
Junior Payton Baldillez (Arlington, Texas) capped the scoring with his third of the season at the 18:41 mark by beating St. Michael's goalie Chris Johnson blocker side.
Braeden Ostepchuk (Lethbridge, Alberta) and Ty Reichenbach (Billings, Mont.) combined for the shutout. Ostepchuk got the win to improve to 13-0-0 and made 18 saves in half the time. Reichenbach came on to make 21 more saves in relief.