Women’s Hockey: Cadets headed to Rochester, N.Y. again for D-III Championship

Women’s Hockey: Cadets headed to Rochester, N.Y. again for D-III Championship

NORTHFIELD, Vt. – For the second straight year the Norwich women's ice hockey team will be headed to Rochester, N.Y. for the NCAA Division III Women's Ice Hockey Championship on Friday, March 16 and Saturday, March 17.

Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) earned the right to host at the Frank Ritter Memorial Arena for the second year in a row after beating Concordia (Minn.) 5-2 in the NCAA Quarterfinal round. The Tigers will host SUNY Plattsburgh at 3:30 p.m. in the first semifinal with Norwich taking on Gustavus Adolphus in the other semifinal at 7 p.m.

The two winners will advance to the 2012 NCAA Division III National Championship game at 7 p.m. on Saturday. The two non-advancing teams meet at 3:30 p.m. in the third-place game.

Norwich (26-2-1) will look to defend its 2011 National Championship, which it won by upsetting top-ranked RIT 5-2 last year on March 19. The Cadets have already established a new program-record for wins in a season and are making their fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.

NU earned its way into the tournament with an automatic bid after capturing the ECAC East Tournament Championship. On Saturday, Norwich rolled to a 5-0 win over Amherst behind two goals and an assist from junior forward Jillayne DeBus (Howell, Mich.).

The Cadets are the highest scoring team in the nation, averaging 6.14 goals per game and have the second best defense, allowing just 1.14 goals per contest. Norwich also has the best power-play in the nation, converting at a 35.8 percent rate (53-for-148).

Senior Julie Fortier (Saint-Malachie, Quebec) leads the nation with 53 points on 30 goals and 23 assists, while DeBus and freshman Kaycie Anderson (Maple Plain, Minn.) are second and third nationally, with 48 and 46 points, respectively.

Norwich has eight players with at least 30 points and 16 in double figures. In goal, Kelly Fisk (Hannibal, N.Y.) is 19-1-0 with a 1.33 goals against average, and .923 save percentage.

RIT (26-1-1) advanced after defeating Concordia-Moorhead (Minn.) 5-2 in first round action on Saturday, March 10. Norwich defeated Amherst, 5-0, while Plattsburgh rallied to defeat Middlebury, 4-2 and Gustavus Adolphus defeated Wisconsin-River Falls, 4-2, all on March 10 as well.

RIT is making its third trip to the NCAA Tournament (2007, 2011, 2012). Kolbee McCrea tied a single-game NCAA Tournament record by recording the hat trick in Saturday's win over Concordia. She also added an assist. Tenecia Hiller added a goal and two assists, as the Tigers scored three straight goals in the third period to snap a 2-2 tie.

Sophomore forward Kourtney Kunichika leads the team and is fifth nationally this season with 41 points (19-22-41) and leads Division III with 11 power-play goals. McCrea is tied for second nationally with 24 goals, while junior defenseman Kristina Moss is second nationally with 27 assists.

RIT leads the nation in scoring defense (1.00 goals per game) and penalty-killing (94.1 percent) and are second nationally in scoring (5.04 goals per game) as well as power-play percentage (30.1 percent).

Freshman goaltender Ali Binnington leads the nation with a 0.95 goals against average, while sophomore Laura Chamberlain is second with a 1.10 goals against average and first with a .948 save percentage.

Plattsburgh (19-6-3) is making its eighth NCAA Tournament appearance, winning back-to-back National Championships in 2007 and 2008.

The Cardinals earned one of the three at-large berths into the NCAA Tournament after falling to RIT in the ECAC West Championship.

Last weekend, Teal Gove scored a pair of power-play goals in the third period as Plattsburgh rallied from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Middlebury, 4-2. Gove, the ECAC West Player of the Year, leads the way for the Cardinals with 40 points on 20 goals and 20 assists.

ECAC West Rookie of the Year Emma Rutherford has added 15 goals. Nine players have at least 20 points. In net, ECAC West Goaltender of the Year Sydney Aveson is 17-5-2 with a 1.56 goals against average and .930 save percentage.

Gustavus Adolphus (24-2-2), the 2010 NCAA National Championship host, is making its eighth straight NCAA Appearance and 10th in 11 seasons. They have advanced to the national semifinal weekend for the sixth time in program history.

The Gusties have won at least 22 games in nine straight seasons and are 246-50-20 over the last 11 seasons. Gustavus Adolphus won the MIAC Championship and defeated Wisconsin-River Falls, 4-2 in a NCAA first round game on March 10. Allie Schwab scored a pair of goals to lead the Gusties.

The Gusties are outscoring their opponents 131-42 this season. Offensively, Schwab leads the way with 24 goals and 43 points, while Mollie Carroll has 16 goals and 22 assists for 38 points, and Carolyn Draayer has 18 goals. Schwab is tied for second nationally with her 24 goals and fourth in points.

In goal, senior Danielle Justice is 18-0-2 with a 1.19 goals against average, and .927 save percentage.

The Norwich-Gustavus Adolphus contest is a rematch of the 2011 NCAA National Semifinal, won by the Cadets, 5-4. If RIT and Norwich advance, it will be a rematch of the 2011 NCAA National Championship game, also won by the Cadets.

ECAC West rivals RIT and Plattsburgh will meet for the fourth time this season on Friday, with the season series knotted at 1-1-1. The two teams battled to a 1-1 draw in Plattsburgh on Jan. 13, while the Cardinals skated to a 3-1 win the following afternoon.

RIT won its second straight ECAC West title by defeating Plattsburgh, 2-1 on March 4. Plattsburgh leads the all-time series between the two schools, 9-4-3, but RIT is 2-1-3 against the Cardinals over the last two seasons.

The Tigers defeated Norwich in the only meeting between the two schools, 4-1 in Norwich on Oct. 29 and hold a 2-1 edge in the all-time series. RIT has never faced Gustavus Adolphus. Norwich defeated Plattsburgh twice this season, both in overtime, 3-2 at home on Dec. 7, and 8-7 on Feb. 8 and are 4-2 all-time against the Cardinals. Gustavus Adolphus is 1-1 all-time against Plattsburgh.

Tickets go on sale Tuesday at the Gordon Field House box office at 10 a.m. Tickets can be purchased in person, by phone (585) 475-4121, or at ticketmaster com. Single-day (Friday or Saturday) ticket prices are $12 for adults, $6 for students, and $4 for children under 12. Weekend passes (all four games) are $18 for adults, $10 for students, and $7 for children under 12.

(Portions of this release courtesy of RIT Sports Information)

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