NORTHFIELD, Vt. – The Norwich University men's ice hockey team finally got the monkey off its back and defeated No. 5 Hobart College for the first time in New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) action on Saturday afternoon at Kreitzberg Arena.
After failing to beat Hobart four times last season, including three painful losses at home, highlighted by a 3-0 loss in the NEHC finals, Norwich exorcised its demons with a statement 3-1 victory over the Statesmen.
Sophomore Coby Downs (Montclair, Calif.), senior David Robertson (Boissevain, Manitoba) and freshman Noah Williams (Cortland, N.Y.) all scored goals, while junior goalie Tom Aubrun (Chamonix, France) made 25 saves as the Cadets earned the four-point weekend to open the league season.
After a scoreless first period, Norwich (2-0-1, 2-0-0 NEHC) struck just 1:16 into the middle stanza as Jack Griffin (Duxbury, Mass.) picked off a loose puck in the Hobart defensive zone and fed the puck down low to Downs on the left side. Downs skated in through the left faceoff circle and fired a wrist shot over the glove of Hobart goalie Alexander Connal to put the Cadets up 1-0.
NU extended the lead late in the second period with Robertson scoring on a 5x3 advantage with a wrist shot through traffic from the point that beat Connal glove side again and make 2-0 Norwich. Felix Brassard (St. Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec) picked up the assist on the goal.
Norwich seized complete control of the game at the 11:35 mark of the third period with Williams scoring his first collegiate goal off assists from Maxime Borduas (St. Cesaire, Quebec) and Gabriel Chicoine (St. Dominique, Quebec) to push the lead to 3-0.
Hobart broke up the shutout with 31 seconds left with a power play goal and an extra skater on for a 6-on-4 advantage. Matt Pizzo fired a shot from the point that got through Aubrun and a diving NU player with an assist from Zach Sternbach.
Aubrun made 25 saves to improve to 2-0-1 on the season. Connal made 27 stops to fall to 2-1 on the year.
Norwich is next in action next Friday and Saturday when the Cadets travel to Boston to face UMass Boston on Friday at 7 p.m. and then Babson on Saturday at 4 p.m.