NORTHFIELD, Vt. – Freshman forward Sophie McGovern (Hermantown, Minn.) scored her first collegiate hat trick and lead the Norwich University women's ice hockey team to a 5-1 victory over UMass Boston on Saturday afternoon at Kreitzberg Arena in New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) action.
No. 3-nationally ranked Norwich (12-3-1, 8-1-0 NEHC) used a three-goal third period to power past UMass Boston (12-5-0, 7-3-0 NEHC) in a rematch of last year's NEHC Championship game.
McGovern opened the scoring at the 17:46 mark of the first period with a rebound goal off an initial shot by Bryn Labbe (Calgary, Alberta) that was stopped by Rachel Myette. Labbe and McGovern both got swats at the puck but Myette was able to keep it out until a UMass Boston defender kicked the puck into the back of the net trying to to clear it away.
UMass Boston answered back just 1:50 later with Grace Fisher beating NU goalie Laurie King (Waddington, N.Y.) five-hole with an off speed wrist shot from the point after Alli Bianchini found her with a pass from the corner boards.
Norwich took the lead for good at the 4:16 mark of the second period with sophomore defenseman Robyn Foley (Goulds, Newfoundland and Labrador) scoring her first goal of the season with a wrist shot from the point that beat Myette over the right shoulder. Maddie Tasha (North Falmouth, Mass.) picked up the primary assist with a defense to defense pass and Nicole Goebel (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) recorded the secondary assist.
McGovern scored her second of the game at the 14:09 mark with a goal of the year candidate goal off an assist from Conway. Conway stole the puck away along the blue line and hit McGovern in stride cutting towards the slot, McGovern toe-dragged around a defender to get into space, deked a couple times, flipped the puck over to her backhand and then roofed it under the cross bar to beat a sprawled out Myette.
The Cadets made it 4-1 just 1:31 later with Sarah Schwenzfeier (Hingham, Mass.) scoring her eighth of the season off assists from Adelle Murphy (Roseau, Minn.) and Adrieana Rossini (Malden, Mass.). Rossini hit Murphy with a tape-to-tape pass from the defensive zone to spring a 2-on-1. Murphy then hit Schwenzfeier with a pass in the middle of the slot, Schwenzfeier dragged the puck through a defender and then beat Myette with a low shot to the far post.
McGovern capped the scoring at the at 9:19 mark with a power play goal for her third of the game and ninth of the season off assists from Foley and Desirae Kuhlmann (Swift Current, Saskatchewan) to make it 5-1.
King made 13 saves for Norwich to improve to 10-0-1 on the season. Myette made 29 saves to fall to 7-5-0.
Saturday's win was a big one for Norwich to stay out front in the race for the No. 1 seed in the NEHC Tournament. The Cadets entered the game tied with UMass Boston but are now two points ahead and have a game in hand.
Norwich hits the road for five straight games starting next Friday with a trip to Maine to take on Southern Maine in Gorham at 4 p.m. The Cadets then face the Univ. of New England at 3 p.m. on Saturday in Biddeford.