NORTHFIELD, Vt. – The Norwich University men's ice hockey team staved off suffering its first season opening loss since the 2007-08 season with a goal by Kevin Salvucci (Plymouth, Mass.) with 1.6 seconds left in the third period to salvage a 3-3 draw with Endicott College on Friday night.
Salvucci scored on a 6-on-4 advantage as NU pulled its goalie in favor of the extra skater for the last minute of the game. The Cadets had numerous chances to tie the game in the waning seconds but Salvucci finally did it by slapping a shot from the middle of the slot off a pretty feed from Cody Smith (Hudson, Mass.) to beat Endicott goalie Kevin Aldridge. Senior Anthony Flaherty (South Boston, Mass.) also picked up an assist after backhanding the puck across the goalmouth over to Smith who was standing at the top of the left faceoff circle.
Flaherty had a goal and an assist as he helped lead Norwich (0-0-1) back from a two-goal deficit to start the third period. He scored at the 4:22 mark on the power play by burying a loose puck sitting in the crease from the right side of the net. Nick Pichette (Massena, N.Y.) and Brian Rowland (Waltham, Mass.) notched assists on the goal. Rowland fed the puck down to Pichette who ripped a shot at Aldridge that he got a piece of, but the rebound fluttered across the crease to a wide open Flaherty.
After a scoreless first period, Endicott (0-0-1) opened the scoring with a give-and-go goal from Ross Olsson and Cam Bleck at the 6:13 mark. Olsson found Bleck standing on the goal line below the right faceoff circle and then he drove to the net, Bleck fired a centering pass that Olsson took an initial shot on that was saved by Braeden Ostepchuk (Lethbridge, Alberta). However, the rebound kicked right back to him and he buried it into the back of the net, low blocker side.
Norwich answered right back at the 7:24 mark of the middle stanza with Rowland roofing a shot over Aldridge's shoulder from the left wing. TJ Dockery (Lockport, N.Y.) picked up his first collegiate point after giving the puck to Rowland in the neutral zone.
Endicott got two goals in the last 4:04 of the second to take a 3-1 lead heading into intermission with Joseph Slovak and Nicholas Petrella both scoring.
Slovak fired a shot low into the left corner of the net at the 15:56 mark of the second period with assists to Petrella and Tommy Besinger.
The same line struck again just 1:26 later with Petrella scoring his first collegiate goal off assists from Slovak and Besinger.
Aldridge was brilliant all night for Endicott, making 35 saves to keep the Norwich offense at bay. He made an incredible sprawling body save on Smith with 11.1 seconds left in overtime and also robbed Ian Williams point blank in the second period with a glove save.
Ostepchuk made eight saves in the first two periods, before he was pulled for Reichenbach in the third period, who made seven saves in his 24:01 of action.
Norwich will open up the New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) conference schedule on Friday, Nov. 4 when it hosts Southern Maine at 7 p.m. at Kreitzberg Arena. The Cadets will also take on Daniel Webster at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 5.