NORTHFIELD, Vt. – Junior Kevin Salvucci (Plymouth, Mass.) potted two goals for the Norwich University men's ice hockey team in the NCAA Division III Men's Ice Hockey Championship Quarterfinals played at Kreitzberg Arena on Saturday. The Cadets dispatched visiting Hamilton College by a 6-2 margin.
The Cadets, ranked first in the nation according to USCHO.com and D3Hockey.com, improve to 25-1-3 with the result. Norwich will head to Utica, N.Y. for the NCAA Division III Final Four to take on the winner of the Wis.-Stevens Point/Adrian contest currently in progress – the game is slated for a 6:30 p.m. start time on Friday, Mar. 24 at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.
Hamilton, making its first appearance in the NCAA Division III Championship, concluded its season with a 20-5-4 overall record. The Continentals, ranked ninth by D3Hockey.com and 11th by USCHO.com, set a program record with 20 victories after opening the year by going unbeaten in its first 13 games (11-0-2).
Salvucci led the Cadets with two goals and a plus-four rating while senior William Pelletier (St. Jean Chrysostome, Quebec, Canada) added two helpers and a team-best 16 face-off victories. Freshman Ian Williams (Milestone, Saskatchewan, Canada) notched a goal and an assist, joining the eight other Norwich players to record at least one point on offense.
Freshman Christian Thompson (Windham, N.H.) opened the scoring in the game, tipping a blast from TJ Dockery (Lockport, N.Y.) past Hamilton netminder Evan Buitenhuis on the power play. Senior Brian Rowland (Waltham, Mass.) recorded an unassisted tally at 12:16 of the second period, creating a 2-0 lead for the hosts.
Hamilton's Conor Lamberti halved the Cadets lead, scoring with the man-advantage at 14:49 of the middle stanza. Robbie Murden and Neil Conway picked up assists on their team's first goal of the contest.
The Cadets countered with three-straight goals, including two from Salvucci, to capture a 5-1 lead with under seven minutes left in regulation time. Salvucci's first goal came with 58 seconds left on the clock while Williams' marker came only 13 seconds after, lifting Norwich to a 4-1 lead after 40 minutes of play.
Salvucci's second goal of the contest came with 6:26 to go in regulation time as Williams and Pelletier set up the junior forward with their team's insurance goal. Hamilton's Jon Carkeek made things interesting only minutes later, scoring off a feed from T.J. Daigler, but Anthony Flaherty (South Boston, Mass.) tallied an empty-net goal to secure the victory.
Norwich goaltender Ty Reichenbach (Billings, Mont.) made 23 saves on 25 shots, improving to 10-1-3 on the season. Buitenhuis was saddled with only his fifth loss in 26 games played, yielding five goals on 35 total shots faced.
The Cadets held a distinct advantage in face-offs, winning 45 of the game's 69 draws. Freshman Taeron Lewis (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) blocked two shots, leading Norwich in that statistic.