NORTHFIELD, Vt. – The Norwich University women's ice hockey team claimed its seventh New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) Tournament Championship on Saturday afternoon with a 5-0 shutout victory over archrival Manhattanville College at Kreitzberg Arena.
Freshman Amanda Conway (Methuen, Mass.) scored a goal and tallied two assists en route to being named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament. Fellow rookie Sophie McGovern (Hermantown, Minn.) scored twice, while junior Sarah Schwenzfeier (Hingham, Mass.) added a goal and an assist to round out the Norwich offensive leaders on the day.
Top-seeded Norwich (22-5-1, 15-2-0 NEHC) claimed its fifth NEHC Tournament title in the last six years with the victory and punched its ticket to the NCAA Tournament for the eighth time in the program's 10-year history.
Norwich opened the scoring at the 7:13 mark of the first period with junior Kim Tiberi (Raleigh, N.C.) rifling a laser into underneath the cross bar to beat Manhattanville goalie Rose Pijaca and put the Cadets up 1-0.
Norwich carried the 1-0 lead into the first intermission after outshooting the Valiants 12-4 in the opening 20 minutes. Manhattanville (17-9-2) carried the play during the second period, but the Cadets scored a back-breaking goal at the 16:10 mark to extend their lead to 2-0.
McGovern scored her first of the night and 10th of the season off an assist from Conway as she beat Pajica over the shoulder as she was coming across the crease after making a save on Conway. Conway brought the puck behind the net and tried a wraparound, but Pajica made the save and the rebound squirted out to McGovern who fired it home.
Norwich poured it on in the third period, capitalizing on two power play goals to pull away from Manhattanville. Schwenzfeier scored her 18th goal of the season at the 7:56 mark of the third period on the power play. McGovern extended the lead to 4-0 just 1:02 later with her second of the night and 11th of the season coming off assists from Conway and Bryn Labbe (Calgary, Alberta).
Conway capped the scoring at the 11:24 mark of the third period with another power play goal for her team-leading 20th of the season on assist from Desirae Kuhlmann (Swift Current, Saskatchewan).
Conway was joined on the NEHC All-Tournament team by Tiberi, Schwenzfeier and Laurie King (Waddington, N.Y.), who stopped all 12 shots she faced to earn her 18th win of the season and her seventh shutout. Manhattanville's Nicole Mensi and Zoey Pellowitz rounded out the team.
Schwenzfeier passed Sarianne Lynn '12 for 10th on the all-time NU scoring list. Schwenzfeier now has 38 goals and 43 assists for 81 points in 87 career games played.
Norwich will now await word on Monday during the NCAA selection show at 10 a.m. to find out who and where it will play in the NCAA Quarterfinals on Saturday, March 11.