NORTHFIELD, Vt. – The Norwich University men's ice hockey team advanced to the finals of the 2018 Northfield Savings Bank Holiday Tournament with a 5-1 victory over Northland College on Friday night at Kreitzberg Arena.
Norwich (8-3-1, 6-1-1 NEHC) got goals from Jack Griffin (Duxbury, Mass.), TJ Dockery (Lockport, N.Y.), Scott Swanson (Wheaton, Ill.), Kale Kane (Kahnawake, Quebec) and Coby Downs (Montclair, Calif.) as the Cadets won their fourth straight game.
Senior goalie Braeden Ostepchuk (Lethbridge, Alberta) stopped 31 of 32 shots he faced to backstop the Cadets to the victory and pick up his sixth win of the season.
After a slow start that saw Northland (5-7-2) register the first six shots on goal, Norwich finally got a spark from Kane scoring his fourth goal of the season at the 7:46 mark of the first period. Kane potted the goal from the slot off assists from Matt Burchill (Marshfield, Mass.) and Payton Baldillez (Arlington, Texas).
Norwich extended the lead to 2-0 at the 1:12 mark of the second period with a power play goal by Swanson. Swanson sniped the top right corner of the net off an assist from Dockery.
Downs increased the lead to 3-0 at the 7:10 mark of the second period with Salvucci and Hall notching assists. Downs had an easy tip in goal after Hall hit Salvucci to spring a 2 on 1 rush. Salvucci drew the goalie over and fed a pass over to Downs who easily tipped the puck into a wide open net for his sixth goal of the season.
Griffin scored the first goal of his collegiate career at the 3:17 mark of the third period to extend the lead to 4-0. Griffin snapped a shot through the five-hole of Northland backup goalie AJ Smith from the middle of the slot.
Dockery notched his third goal of the season with another power play strike for the Cadets at the 8:44 mark of the third period with a wrist shot from the point that found its way into the back of the net off an assist from behind the net by Todd Jackson (Holly Springs, N.C.).
Northland broke up Ostepchuk's shutout at the 14:02 mark of the third period with Bailey Shaver scoring off assists from Chris Poletek and Connor Melton to cut the deficit to 5-1. However, that's as close as Northland would get as the Cadets preserved the four-goal lead from there.
Norwich outshot Northland 43-32 in the game and finished 2-for-3 on the power play. The Cadets didn't take a single penalty all game.
Norwich will now meet an old league opponent in the University of New England on Saturday at 7 p.m. in the finals. UNE defeated SUNY Geneseo 9-5 in a wild opening game of the tournament. UNE scored three goals on a five-minute major midway through the second period to blow the game wide open and then cruise from there.
SUNY Geneseo meets Northland at 4 p.m. in the consolation game. Norwich is looking to win its fifth NSB Tournament title in the last eight seasons. The Cadets beat Williams 4-3 in last year's finals.