NORTHFIELD, Vt. – The Norwich men's ice hockey team closed out the regular season on Saturday with a 4-4 tie against Babson at Kreitzberg Arena in Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) East action.
The Cadets (20-2-2, 15-2-1 ECAC East) rallied from one-goal deficits on three different occasions with sophomore forward Shane Gorman (Trumbull, Conn.) tying the score for the final time at the 18:16 mark of the second period.
Gorman roofed a wrist shot over Babson goalie Zeke Testa's shoulder off a feed from junior forward Pier-Olivier Cotnoir (Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec) to tie the game back up after Babson took a 4-3 lead just 37 seconds earlier with a goal by Mike Driscoll.
Babson (9-12-4, 9-5-4 ECAC East) opened the scoring less than a minute into the game when PT Donato followed up his own rebound and slid the puck behind Norwich goalie Chris Czarnota (Wakefield, Mass.) to give the Beavers a 1-0 lead just 54 seconds in.
Norwich responded 3:30 later on the power play when Alec Thieda (Rochester Hills, Mich.) tallied his fifth goal of the season with a slap shot that bounced off a Babson defender's skate in the slot and into the back of the net. Junior forward Kyle Thomas (Waltham, Mass.) and freshman forward Doug Lindensmith also recorded assists.
Cotnoir gave Norwich its only lead of the night at the 8:06 mark of the period when he scored quick off a face off for his team-leading 16th goal of the season. Sophomore Travis Janke (Swift Current, Saskatchewan) won the face off back to Gorman who slid the puck over to Cotnoir. Cotnoir turned around a fired a shot from the edge of the right face-off circle that evaded Testa's blocker and gave the Cadets a 2-1 lead.
Ryan Smith didn't let the lead last long though as Babson pulled even at the 13:16 mark with Smith smacking home a loose puck in the crease off a scramble in front. Matt O'Neill and Jay Haseley recorded assists on the goal for the Beavers.
The Beavers regained the lead at the 11:46 mark of the second period with a shorthanded goal by Mike Hoban. Hoban capitalized on a Norwich turnover in front of its own net and beat Czarnota to his left side on a wrist shot from the middle of the slot.
Norwich tied the game back up at the 16:42 mark of the period when the Cadets were on the fortunate end of a lengthy discussion between the officials on a goal/non goal call.
Freshman Bryce Currier (Essex Junction, Vt.) took a shot from the top of the left circle that Testa caught a piece of with his glove. However, the puck had enough momentum to continue behind him and just crossed goal line before popping back out of the net. Junior Tory Allan (Davidson, Saskatchewan) recorded an assist on the goal.
Driscoll and Gorman each added goals to cap the scoring at send the two teams tied at four into the second intermission.
Neither side was able to light the lamp again over the remaining 20 minutes of regulation or in the five-minute overtime session. Norwich had the best chance with Janke sending a re-direction just wide of the left post in the final seconds of overtime after senior defenseman Pasha Kozhokin (Kharkiv, Ukraine) brought the puck into the zone and fed him a pass from the side boards.
Norwich and Babson have now gone to overtime in three of their last four meetings. All three of the overtime games have come at Kreitzberg Arena with two of them ending in 4-4 ties. The other overtime game was last year's ECAC East Tournament championship game, which Norwich won 3-2 in overtime on a breakaway goal from Kyle Thomas.
Czarnota made his second straight start and turned aside 25 shots for Norwich. He is now 8-1-1 on the year. Testa made 28 saves for Babson and is now 2-7-2 on the season.
The top-seeded Cadets begin their quest for third straight ECAC East Tournament title next Saturday at 7 p.m. when they host eighth-seeded University of New England in the quarterfinal round at Kreitzberg Arena. Norwich beat UNE 6-0 and 7-4 in their two previous meetings this season.
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