Men’s Hockey: Norwich shuts out #9 UNE, 4-0 in season opener

Michael Menn '20
Michael Menn '20

NORTHFIELD, Vt. – The Norwich University men's ice hockey team opened up the 2019-20 season with an impressive 4-0 shutout victory over No. 9 ranked Univ. of New England on Saturday night in non-conference action at Kreitzberg Arena.

Senior goalie Tom Aubrun (Chamonix, France) stopped all 25 shots he faced to pick up his eighth career shutout, while junior forward Felix Brassard (St. Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec) scored two power play goals to lead the offense.

Junior Ryan Boucher (Fitchburg, Mass.) and senior Taeron Lewis (Winnipeg, Manitoba) scored a goal as well, while sophomore Noah Williams (Cortland, N.Y) and junior Coby Downs (Montclair, Calif.) each had two assists to round out Norwich's scoring.

After a pedestrian first 15 minutes of the game, Norwich (1-0-0, 0-0-0 NEHC) struck three times in a span of 2:30 with two power play goals to take a commanding 3-0 lead.

Lewis scored on the back door off an assist from the corner boards by Williams just seconds after a UNE penalty expired to take a 1-0 lead. Lewis flicked a puck over the shoulder of UNE goalie Ben Churchfield from the bottom of the left faceoff circle. Connor Swystun (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) picked up the second assist after feeding the puck down in the corner to Williams.

Brassard notched his first goal of the season and the 19th of his career, slamming home a one-timer off a feed from the right side of the crease from Brett Ouderkirk (Monkland, Ontario) and Downs. Ouderkirk back handed the puck over to Brassard at the side of the left faceoff circle for the goal.

Brassard scored again just 48 seconds later, Maxime Borduas (St. Cesaire, Quebec) and a secondary assist from Downs. Norwich used some pretty tic-tac-toe passing with Gabriel Chicoine (St. Dominique, Quebec) finding Downs cutting down the top of the slot. He fed the puck down to Borduas on the door step of the crease, who immediately fed it across to Brassard, who slammed it home into an open net.

Neither side scored in the second period, but Norwich played impressive defense, killing off three penalties and getting outshot 10-8 in the period.

Boucher capped the scoring at the 8:04 mark of the third period with Williams winning a battle off a faceoff to slide the puck over on his back hand to Boucher crashing on the left side of the crease for his first goal of the season.

Aubrun made it stand up from there, including stoning UNE's returning leading scorer Ryan Bloom on a breakaway late in the third period to keep the high-powered Nor'easter offense off the board.

Norwich and UNE both had 25 shots, while the Cadets were 2-for-6 on the power play. NU held UNE 0-for-4 on their power play chances.

Norwich will open up New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) action on Friday, Nov. 8 when it hosts New England College at 7 p.m. to kickoff Norwich Hockey Alumni Weekend.