Women's Hockey: #1 Norwich vs. #4 Plymouth State - NEHC Semifinals Preview

Women's Hockey NEHC Semifinal preview

SATURDAY'S STORYLINE: No. 1/2 nationally-ranked Norwich (22-1-3, 14-0-0 NEHC) continues its quest for its eighth NEHC Championship today by hosting No. 4 seed Plymouth State (9-13-4, 7-5-2 NEHC). The Cadets earned the No. 1 seed for the NEHC Tournament for the eighth straight year.

With a victory today, NU would advance to the NEHC championship that it would also host next Saturday at Kreitzberg Arena. Norwich is a remarkable 126-5-4 over the last eight seasons in NEHC regular season contests. You can watch live video at www.nsnsports.net/colleges/norwich 

Tickets are available at www.cadetstickets.com. Admission prices will be $6 for adults and $4 for non-Norwich students.  

WHAT'S AT STAKE: A berth to the NEHC Tournament Championship will be on the line on Saturday.  Norwich will be looking to advance to its 10th straight NEHC Tournament Championship appearance, while Plymouth State will be looking for its first championship appearance in program history.   

In the other semifinal matchup; No. 2 UMass Boston hosts No. 3 Castleton at 3 p.m. as well.  

The winner of the NEHC Tournament will gain an automatic bid into the nine-team NCAA Tournament that begins on Friday, March 9.  

THE SERIES: Today marks the 24th all-time meeting between Norwich and Plymouth State in women's ice hockey. Norwich has never lost to Plymouth State, accumulating a perfect 23-0-0 record vs. the Panthers, including 6-0 and 2-0 victories earlier this season. The two teams met in last year's NEHC Quarterfinals with Norwich downing the Panthers 5-0 at Kreitzberg Arena.

THE COACHES: Norwich is led by Mark Bolding '95, who is in his 11th season at the helm of the NU women's ice hockey program. The three-time American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) Coach of the Year has compiled an impressive 240-62-20 record in his tenure as the only head coach the program has known.

Plymouth State is led by Mykul Haun, who is in his second year at the helm of his alma mater, accruing a 17-29-6 record.

ABOUT THE CADETS: Norwich is led offensively by the NEHC Player of the Year in sophomore forward Amanda Conway, who has 26 goals and 21 assists for 47 points this season. Junior Adrieana Rossini (19-19-38), sophomore Sophie McGovern (13-23-36), junior Bryn Labbe (13-19-32) and senior Sarah Schwenzfeier (12-22-34) round out the Cadets' top offensive players and earned NEHC All-Conference honors.

Sophomore Alyssa Hulst (15-11-26) ranks third on the team in goals, while defenseman Samantha Benoit (3-20-23) led all NEHC rookies in points.

In goal, senior Laurie King is the all-time program shutouts record holder and has compiled a 17-1-3 record with a 1.23 GAA and a .930 save %.

ABOUT THE PANTHERS: Plymouth State is led by sophomore Kailey Jacobs who has three goals and 12 assists for 15 points.

Sophomore Sydney Linnick (6-4-10), sophomore Alexis Fagan (5-4-9), junior Brooke Maggy (6-2-8) and sophomore Eleanor Hudson (3-3-6) round out the Panthers' top-five offensive leaders.

In goal, junior Emelie Lindqvist has compiled a 7-8-4 record with a 2.04 goals against average and a .940 save percentage to go along with four shutouts.

By the Numbers: (national rank)

SCORING OFFENSE-
Norwich: 5.69 (1st)
Plymouth State:  1.73 (46th)

SCORING DEFENSE-
Norwich: 1.15 (5th)
Plymouth State:  2.62 (41st)

PENALTY MINUTES PER GAME-
Norwich: 8.5 minutes (30th)
Plymouth State: 9.6 minutes (20th)

POWER PLAY-
Norwich: 32.4 percent (1st)
Plymouth State: 9.4 percent (56th)

PENALTY KILL-
Norwich: 90.3 percent (7th)
Plymouth State: 83.3 percent (35th)