NORTHFIELD, Vt. – The Norwich University men's ice hockey team continued its recent dominance over its long-time rival Middlebury College on Tuesday night with a resounding 5-1 victory at Kreitzberg Arena to sweep the season series.
Norwich (11-4-1, 8-1-1 NEHC) improved to 11-1-3 in the last 15 meetings between the two schools and cut the all-time deficit down to 80-65-9 in Middlebury's favor in the 154 all-time meetings between the two schools dating back to 1926.
Sophomore forward Taeron Lewis (Winnipeg, Manitoba) had a career night, scoring a goal and notching two assists for three points to lead the Cadets' offense as it was missing its top two scorers due to injury.
Lewis opened the scoring at the 2:48 mark, sniping a wrist shot off the cross bar and in off assists from Ryan Boucher (Fitchburg, Mass.) and Alec Brandrup (Rochester, Minn.). The goal was Lewis' second of the season.
Middlebury tied the game back up at the 12:05 mark of the first period with Connor Lloyd scoring an unassisted goal after he intercepted a pass in the defensive zone and fired a wrist shot past Braeden Ostepchuk (Lethbridge, Alberta) into the right corner of net to knot the score at 1-1.
Norwich regained the lead though for good at the 15:17 mark of the first period with Jordan Hall (Anchorage, Alaska) collecting a loose rebound in the slot and firing the puck past Middlebury's Stephen Klein to make it 2-1 Cadets. Felix Brassard (St. Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec) had the primary assist after his shot was saved. Lewis picked up the secondary assist.
Norwich made it a two-goal game late in the second period with sophomore forward Jack Griffin (Duxbury, Mass.) delivering a crippling blow with his fourth goal in the last five games at the 14:04 mark of the middle stanza.
Griffin took a long stretch pass from Jake Erickson (Stillwater, Minn.) at the Middlebury blue line, catching the Panthers in a line change. He skated in from the right wing and absorbed a hard hit from a frantic Middlebury player trying to get back. Just as he was hit he let go of a hard wrist shot that beat Klein over the glove and off the inside of the right post to make it 3-1 Norwich.
The Cadets added two more third period goals from Brassard and Scott Swanson (Wheaton, Ill.) to cap the scoring in the game.
Brassard scored off the faceoff with a quick wrist shot from the side of the right faceoff circle after Boucher won the draw back to him.
Swanson capped the scoring at the 16:55 mark with a goal off assists from Carter Cowlthorp (Boissevain, Manitoba) and Lewis.
Norwich outshot Middlebury 31-20 in the game. Ostepchuk made 19 saves to improve to 8-4-1 on the season. Klein stopped 26 shots in the loss for Middlebury.
Norwich has now won three in a row and seven of its last eight as it hosts Skidmore and Hobart in another big NEHC weekend. The Cadets currently cling to a one-point lead over UMass Boston in the league standings with Babson two points back as well.
NU will take on Skidmore at 7 p.m. on Friday and then Hobart at 4 p.m. on Saturday as the Cadets celebrate Military Appreciation Weekend.