Men's Hockey: Norwich avenges lone NEHC loss, downs NEC 3-2

Tom Aubrun men's hockey action vs. Southern Maine
Bill Croney/Northfield News

HENNIKER, N.H. - The Norwich University men's ice hockey team avenged its lone league loss of the season on Saturday afternoon with a 3-2 victory over New England College in New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) action at the Lee Clement Arena.

No. 13/14-ranked Norwich (10-4-1, 8-1-1 NEHC) maintained its one-point lead in the league standings with the victory after UMass Boston also swept the weekend with wins over Skidmore and Hobart.

Sophomore goalie Tom Aubrun (Chamonix, France) was once again impressive in just his third career start making 36 saves to help backstop the Cadets to the victory. Sophomore Jack Griffin (Duxbury, Mass.) also stayed hot, scoring his third goal in the last four games. Freshman Coby Downs (Montclair, Calif.) and sophomore Jordan Hall (Anchorage, Alaska) each scored goals as well for the Cadets to lead the offense. 

After a scoreless first period, Norwich took a 1-0 lead at the 9:45 mark of the second period on Griffin's third goal of the year as he potted the puck home on a scrum in front of the crease with NEC goalie Kyle Shapiro laying on his back. Christian Thompson (Windham, N.H.) and Payton Baldillez (Arlington, Texas) each notched assists on the goal.

NEC (9-6-1, 4-5-1 NEHC) equalized four minutes later on the power play with Joe Osaka scoring his ninth off assists from Mike Whitehair and Patrick DeBois.

The Pilgrims took the lead just 1:07 into the third period with Patrick Bartolomucci scoring his second goal of the game, tipping a cross ice pass from Andreas Zollner into the net. Whitehair picked up his second assist of the game on the goal.

Norwich dug deep and answered at the 6:33 mark of the third period with Downs scoring his team-leading seventh goal of the season off assists from Todd Jackson (Holly Springs, N.C.) and TJ Dockery (Lockport, N.Y.). 

The Cadets scored what would prove to be the game-winning goal at the 11:55 mark of the third period with Hall scoring his fourth goal of the season off assisst from Baldillez and Alec Brandrup (Rochester, Minn.) on the power play. 

Aubrun and the NU defense made the lead hold up from there to preserve the victory. Aubrun improved to 3-0-0 on the season with the victory. Shapiro slipped to 6-6-1 on the season.

Norwich will look to extend its winning streak to three straight with a non-conference game against Middlebury on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Kreitzberg Arena. The Cadets beat the Panthers 5-1 earlier this year in the PrimeLink Great Northern ShootOut consolation game. Tuesday's game will mark the 154th all-time meeting between the two longtime rivals. Norwich is 10-1-3 in the last 14 meetings while Middlebury holds the all-time lead at 80-64-9.