NORTHFIELD, Vt. – Although the Norwich women's ice hockey team won the Division III national championship last year, there was one goal it didn't accomplish in winning the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) East Tournament.
The Cadets (13-1-1, 10-0-1 ECAC East) finally got their revenge on arch-rival Manhattanville with a convincing 6-1 win on Friday night at Kreitzberg Arena in the two teams' first meeting since the Valiants stole the tournament title last March with a 4-2 victory.
Norwich was led by three-point nights from junior forward Jillayne DeBus (Howell, Mich.), Sarianne Lynn (Wethersfield, Conn.) and Kaycie Anderson (Maple Plain, Minn.). DeBus had two goals and an assist. Lynn had a goal and two assists while Anderson registered three assists to lead the NU offense.
Manhattanville (7-7-2, 5-3-1 ECAC East) did strike first blood at the 6:37 mark of the first period when the Valiants' Hannah Muskego capitalized on a 5-on-3 power play opportunity.
Muskego had her initial shot blocked by a Norwich forward, but she stayed with the play and fired another wrist shot toward the net that deflected off a body in front of the net and then up and over Norwich goaltender Kelly Fisk's (Hannibal, N.Y.) shoulder before settling into the back of the net to give Manhattanville a 1-0 lead.
However, it was all Norwich from there as the Cadets went on to score six unanswered goals to pick up just their third win all-time against their arch-rival. NU is now 3-7-0 in the all-time series between the two squads.
Freshman forward Vanessa Champagne (St. Naziere, Quebec) knotted things up at one late in the first period on the power play by jamming home a loose rebound off an initial shot from Lynn at the point.
Norwich took the lead for good with a shorthanded goal at the 7:47 mark of the second period when Lynn blasted a shot from the blue line that found its way through Manhattanville goalie Emy Cote to give the Cadets a 2-1 lead. Julie Fortier (Saint-Malachie, Quebec) and Baylie Lamarre (Tyngsboro, Mass.) picked up the assists.
A little less than five minutes later freshman forward Tyne Gove (Berwick, Ontario) stretched the lead to two when she beat Cote off an odd-man rush with DeBus. DeBus waited until she reached the middle of the face-off circle before sending a pass over to Gove who was rushing toward the net. Gove deked once to bring Cote out of her net and then slid the puck over to her forehand to evade the Manhattanville goalie before slipping it behind her into a wide open net.
Norwich maintained its two-goal lead heading into the locker room for the second intermission with a 28-11 edge in shots as well.
The Cadets picked up right where they left in the third when senior defenseman Amanda Wilks (Winnipeg, Manitoba) planted herself in front of the net and tipped home a pass from Lynn on a 5-on-3 power play to increase the lead to 4-1.
DeBus capped the scoring with her two tallies coming 2:17 apart in the final four minutes of the game. DeBus banked a shot off Cote from behind the goal for one her two tallies and then beat Cote on a partial breakaway with a backhand top corner far post for her other goal to bring her tally on the season to seven.
Fisk made an incredible leg save in the closing minutes of the game to rob Manhattanville's Katie Little of a sure goal off a breakaway. That was the prettiest of her 18 saves as she improved to 9-0-0 on the year. Cote made 29 saves to take the loss for the Valiants and drop to 2-6-2 on the season.
Norwich outshot Manhattanville 35-19 and was 2-for-10 on the power play while Manhattanville was 1-for-7. The intensity of the rivalry and physical nature of the game showed on the stat sheet as Manhattanville was whistled for 10 penalties for 20 minutes while Norwich had seven penalties for 14 minutes.
NU extended its ECAC East regular season unbeaten streak to 32 straight games with the victory. Over that span, Norwich is 30-0-2 with the only blemishes both being ties to Salve Regina. The Cadets increased their stranglehold on the top of the ECAC East standings. NU has 21 points while Division I Holy Cross is second with 16 points and has two games in hand. Manhattanville is the next closest D-III school with 11 points in nine games.
The Cadets return to action Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. when they host Nichols in another ECAC East contest at Kreitzberg Arena.
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