RUTLAND, Vt. – The Norwich University men's ice hockey team won the opening skirmish in the Battle of Vermont rivalry with a 2-0 shutout victory over Castleton University on Friday night at Spartan Arena.
Freshman Carter Cowlthorp (Boissevain, Manitoba) and sophomore Jordan Hall (Anchorage, Alaska) scored goals for the Cadets, while senior Braeden Ostepchuk (Lethbridge, Alberta) was magnificent, stopping all 29 shots he faced to earn his 12th career shutout.
Norwich (6-3-1, 5-1-1 NEHC) improved to 23-5-1 all-time vs. Castleton with the victory and won the inaugural game in the Wolk Cup series. Before Friday's game, Norwich University President Richard Schneider presented outgoing Castleton University President David Wolk the trophy to commemorate the Battle of Vermont rivalry.
After a scoreless first 40 minutes, Norwich finally broke the seal on the scoring with Cowlthorp netting his third of the season with a quick wrist shot that beat Castleton goalie Wyatt Pickrell over the blocker to make it 1-0 Cadets at the 7:53 mark of the third period. David Robertson (Boissevain, Manitoba) picked up the assist with the outlet pass out of the zone.
Norwich held on for dear life in the final five minutes with multiple 5-on-3 disadvantages killed off due to a slew of penalties late. Ostepchuk was spectacular making 15 of his 29 saves in the third period to stave off the Spartans.
Hall added the empty net unassisted short-handed goal to seal the victory with 1:38 left to go in the game.
Castleton outshot Norwich 29-25 for the game, but the Cadets held the Spartans 0-for-6 on the power play. NU ranks eighth in the nation with a 92.1 penalty kill percentage.
Norwich will face Castleton again on Friday, Dec. 8 at Kreitzberg Arena at 7 p.m. to close the first semester schedule. The Cadets will hold their annual Teddy Bear Toss for Toys for Tots next Friday. Fans are encouraged to bring a new teddy bear to the game to toss on the ice after Norwich scores its first goal of the game.