GENEVA, N.Y. - The Norwich University men's ice hockey team edged Hobart College 2-1 on Friday night in a battle of two top-five nationally ranked rivals on Friday night at the Cooler in New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) action.
Junior forward Felix Brassard (St. Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec) scored twice, while senior goalie Tom Aubrun (Chamonix, France) made 32 saves to lead Norwich to its fourth straight victory over Hobart in a battle between Frozen Four finalists a year ago.
Norwich (4-0-0, 3-0-0 NEHC) played its first game since taking over as the new No. 1 ranked team in the country for the first time since Oct. 23, 2017. Hobart (3-1-1, 2-1-0 NEHC) came in as the No. 5 ranked team in the country and was also a battle between the last two NEHC Tournament champions.
After a scoreless first period, Brassard gave Norwich a 1-0 lead at the 8:23 mark of the middle frame, scoring off assists from Christian Thompson (Windham, N.H.) and Scott Swanson (Wheaton, Ill.). Norwich worked the puck up the right side of the ice and found Brassard alone in the middle of the slot. Brassard wristed a shot into the corner of the net past Hobart goalie Joe Hallstrom to give the Cadets the lead with his fourth goal of the year.
Brassard's goal stood up in the second period as the lone tally to give the Cadets a 1-0 lead heading into the second intermission, despite getting out shot 19-8 in the period.
Brassard scored again at the 15:38 mark off assists from Gabriel Chicoine (St. Dominique, Quebec) and Ryan Boucher (Fitchburg, Mass.). Brassard was left all alone on the left side of the crease and slid the puck in past an outstretched arm of Hallstrom to give Norwich a 2-0 lead.
The extra insurance tally proved to be the difference as finally after 178:49 of game action, Norwich and Aubrun surrendered its first goal of the season with Hobart's Lawson MacDougall scoring for the Statesmen with an extra attacker on the ice. MacDougall scored with 1:11 left in the game off assists from Mike Faulkner and Zach Sternbach to cut the deficit to 2-1.
However, that's as close as Hobart would get as Norwich skated off with the two points to move into sole possession of first-place in the league standings.
Aubrun made a season-high 32 saves in the game to improve to 4-0-0 on the season. Hallstrom made 25 saves for the Statesmen.
The Cadets travel to Skidmore College on Saturday for a 4 p.m. faceoff vs. the Thoroughbreds, who are 3-0-1 overall and 2-0-1 in league play so far this season.