Women’s Hockey: Norwich stays perfect with 5-2 win over Saint Anselm in home opener

Sophie McGovern - Women's Hockey

Video Highlights by Tanner Acebo, Multimedia Specialist

NORTHFIELD, Vt. – The Norwich University women's ice hockey downed Saint Anselm College 5-2 in its home opener at Kreitzberg Arena on Friday night in New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) action. 

The Cadets (3-0-0, 3-0-0 NEHC) got a goal and an assist from freshman forward Sophie McGovern (Hermantown, Minn.), while classmate Alyssa Hulst (Scarborough, Maine) and junior Kim Tiberi (Raleigh, N.C.) tallied two assists apiece to lead the Norwich offense. 

Senior goalie Celeste Robert (Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec) made 26 saves to pick up her 32nd career victory. 

Norwich opened the scoring at the 8:44 mark of the first period with McGovern finishing off a beautiful tic-tac-toe passing play on a power play for her second goal of the season. 

Carly Menges (Novelty, Ohio) started the play with a d-to-d pass over to Tiberi at the top of the left face-off circle. Tiberi quickly fed the puck back across the zone to McGovern at the right faceoff circle and she buried a wrist shot into the left corner of the net pass Saint Anselm starting goalie Hannah Synnott. 

Norwich stretched the lead to 2-0 at the 13:16 mark of the first period with Adelle Murphy (Roseau, Minn.) jabbing home a pass from behind the net by Bryn Labbe (Calgary, Alberta). McGovern notched the second assist on the play by dumping the puck in that Labbe chased down. 

Saint Anselm (3-1-0, 3-1-0 NEHC) quickly got on the board in the second period with Kaitlyn Spillane tallying her first of the game on the power play just 42 seconds into the middle stanza. Spillane corralled a rebound off an initial save by Robert on a shot from a tough angle along the goal line by Alison Quinn. Spillane sniped a wrist shot high blocker side past Robert to cut the NU lead to 2-1. 

Spillane tied the game up at the 14:11 mark of the second period with a pretty wrist shot that bounced off the inside of the left post and into the back of the net after she blocked down a NU clearing attempt for her second power play goal of the game. 

Despite getting dominated in the second period, Norwich got a huge goal by junior forward Sarah Schwenzfeier (Hingham, Mass.) to steal back the momentum with 48 seconds in the period.  Hulst stripped the puck away from Saint Anselm player in the neutral zone and the she slid it up to Rossini at the blue line. Rossini skated in from the left wing and fed a crossing passing to Schwenzfeier on a 2-on-1. Schwenzfeier took care of the rest, wristing the puck past Synnott high to her right for her fifth goal of the season. 

Norwich added two insurance tallies in the final period with Amanda Conway (Methuen, Mass.) scoring a pretty coast to coast goal on a breakaway at the 12:15 mark. Linnea Odbratt (Gothenburg, Sweden) gained control of the puck in the NU zone and sent the puck around the end boards over to Kirsten Watts (Chugiak, Alaska). Watts picked the puck up off the boards and dragged it through two defenders and then slid it back to Conway who was circling behind the NU net. 

Conway took over from there blazing up the left wing and getting free space into the zone after a big collision near the NU blue line took out a player from each team. Conway went backhand forehand and slipped the puck through Synnott's five-hole to make it 4-2 Norwich. 

Freshman forward Brynn Wopperer (Amherst, N.Y.) scored her first collegiate goal at the 18:35 mark when she got her own rebound on a 2-on-1 and fired a shot that hit off a Saint Anselm defender on the goal line and deflected into the back of the net. Hulst and Tiberi notched assists on the goal. 

Synnott made 18 saves for Saint Anselm to fall to 2-1-0 on the season. Robert improved to 2-0-0. 

Norwich returns to action on Saturday at 4 p.m. when it hosts Castleton University in Kreitzberg Arena. The Spartans' snapped Norwich's 40-game conference unbeaten streak last year with a 1-0 win at Spartan Arena. With Friday's victory, Norwich head coach Mark Bolding moved to within two wins of 200 in his collegiate coaching career.