NORTHFIELD, Vt. – Despite controlling the play for 90 percent of the game, the Norwich University men's ice hockey team fell 4-3 to New England College on Friday night in a rematch of the 2017 New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) Championship game.
Senior goalie Kyle Shapiro made 39 saves for New England College, including an incredible sprawled out save to rob TJ Dockery (Lockport, N.Y.) with 12 minutes to go in the third period and keep the game tied 2-2.
The Pilgrims (3-4-0, 2-3-0 NEHC) got a pair of goals 16 seconds apart from Keenan Haase and Joe Osaka late in the third period to break a 2-2 tie and then held on for the victory, their first at Kreitzberg Arena since March 5, 2005 in a NEHC semifinal game.
Senior forward Kevin Salvucci (Plymouth, Mass.) scored with an extra attacker on the ice on a 6-on-4 power play to cut the deficit to one, but the Pilgrims held on for the last 2:38 to steal the victory.
New England College took advantage of another slow start for the Cadets, scoring twice in the first 2:21 of the game to take a 2-0 lead on goals by Adam Zollner and Carlos Fornaris.
Zollner scored off an assist from Ryan Walsh for his second of the season, while Fornaris scored his second off assists from Haase and Mike Whitehair.
NU (3-2-1, 3-1-1 NEHC) got on the board at the 9:12 mark of the first period with Carter Cowlthorp (Boissevain, Manitoba) scoring a wrist shot from the point that found its way past Shapiro. Felix Brassard (St. Jean-sur-Richilieu, Quebec) and Jordan Hall (Anchorage, Alaska) notched assists on the Cowlthorp's second of the year.
Freshman Scott Swanson (Wheaton, Ill.) scored his first collegiate goal with a redirection in front off an initial shot by Connor Evangelista (Wakefield, Mass.) from the point. Swanson deflected the puck down and under the cross bar to knot the game up with Todd Jackson (Holly Springs, N.C.) picking up the secondary assist.
Despite getting outshot 14-4 in the third period, NEC was opportunistic with Haase redirecting a great saucer pass from Fornaris as he was driving to the net to beat NU starting goalie Braeden Ostepchuk (Lethbridge, Alberta) low.
Osaka then beat Ostepchuk just 16 seconds later five-hole on a rebound after an initial save was made on Zollner. Bryce Neilsen picked up the secondary assist.
Norwich outshot NEC 42-22 for the game and went 1-for-7 on the power play. The Cadets will look to rebound when they host Southern Maine on Saturday at 4 p.m.