PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. – Ding dong the cardinal curse is finally dead!
The Norwich University women's ice hockey team broke a 13-game winless streak vs. its Lake Champlain rival Plattsburgh State with a 4-3 non-conference victory on Wednesday night at the Stafford Ice Arena.
Sophomore Sophie McGovern (Hermantown, Minn.) scored twice to lead the Cadets to their first win over the four-time defending national champions since Feb. 8, 2012. Sophomore forward Amanda Conway (Methuen, Mass.) had a goal and two assists, while junior Bryn Labbe (Calgary, Alberta) tallied two assists to round out the Norwich offensive leaders.
Wednesday's game featured the consensus top two teams in the national rankings with Plattsburgh State (3-1-0) coming in as the No. 1 team in the country and Norwich (4-0-1) as No. 2.
Norwich struck first blood just 27 seconds into the game with McGovern scoring on a rebound on the doorstep of the crease for her third goal of the season. Conway and Bryn Labbe (Calgary, Alberta) picked up assists on the goal after Labbe took an initial shot from the top of the slot that was saved by Kassi Abbott. Conway got a stick on the rebound and then McGovern slid it home inside the left post to give the Cadets a 1-0 lead.
Plattsburgh responded just 2:21 later with Kayla Meneghin scoring her sixth goal of the year on a rebound. Melissa Sheeran put the initial shot on net from the left faceoff circle and then Songin got a stick on the puck in the crease before Menghin slipped it behind King to tie the game.
The Cardinals took their first lead of the game at the 3:57 mark with Courtney Moriarty beating King five-hole from the right faceoff dot off assists from Meghan Kraus and Mackenzie Millen. NU was bottled up in its own end for nearly minute and then Moriarty finally capitalized on a tired defensive unit for her fourth goal of the season.
Norwich responded just over a minute later though as senior Muranda Toews (Grand Prairie, Alberta) scored her first goal of the season on a rebound at the top of the crease. Toews roofed a backhand under the cross bar after an initial shot from the point by Samantha Benoit was deflected. Freshman KC Herne (Akwesasne, N.Y.) notched her team-leading fifth assist on the goal.
After the initial five-minute flurry, neither team scored again until McGovern notched her second of the game with a power play goal at the 3:57 mark of the third period to give Norwich a 3-2 lead. Labbe sauced a perfect pass across the zone to a wide open McGovern at the opposite faceoff circle and then the sophomore sniper took care of the rest, firing a wrist shot into the right corner of the net for her fourth goal of the season. Conway picked up the secondary assist on the goal.
Norwich extended its lead to 4-2 at the 10:11 mark of the third period with Conway scoring off an assist from McGovern. Conway threw a puck from behind the net that bounced off a Plattsburgh defender's skate and into the back of the net as she was trying to tie up a crashing Labbe.
Plattsburgh got a goal back at the 16:11 mark of the third period, beating Laurie King (Waddington, N.Y.) on the power play with a rebound goal off an initial shot from Sheeran. Hannah Kiraly picked up the second assist on the goal.
The Cardinals continued to throw everything at the NU defense in search of the equalizer, but King and the NU defense stood tall to preserve the victory.
Plattsburgh pulled its goalie with 1:30 left in the third, but Sheeran took a five-minute boarding penalty forcing the Cardinals to put their goalie back in the net and effectively sealing the NU victory.
King made 35 saves to pick up the victory and improve to 3-0-1 on the season. Abbott made 29 saves for Plattsburgh.
Coming into Wednesday's game, Norwich was 0-11-2 vs. the Cardinals since the Feb. 8, 2012 8-7 barnburner at the Stafford. Plattsburgh had also ended Norwich's season three out of the last four seasons, including last year in the NCAA Semifinals in Adrian, Mich.
Norwich finally plays its home season opener on Friday, Nov. 11 when the Cadets host Plymouth State at 7 p.m.