Women's Hockey: #1 Norwich vs. #2 UMass Boston - NEHC Championship Preview

Women's Hockey: #1 Norwich vs. #2 UMass Boston - NEHC Championship Preview

SATURDAY'S STORYLINE: No. 1/2 nationally-ranked Norwich (23-1-3, 14-0-0 NEHC) continues its quest for its eighth NEHC Championship today by hosting No. 2 seed UMass Boston (12-11-4, 9-3-2 NEHC). The Cadets earned the No. 1 seed for the NEHC Tournament for the eighth straight year.

Norwich defeated New England College 10-0 and Plymouth State 4-1 to advance to Saturday's championship game. UMass Boston beat Salve Regina 5-2 and Castleton 3-2 to punch its ticket to the title game. 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 nine-team NCAA Tournament will be on the line on Saturday.  Norwich will be looking to win its eighth NEHC Tournament title, while UMass Boston will be looking to try and win its second. Saturday will mark a rematch of the 2016 NEHC Tournament title game and pits the last two winners of the NEHC Tournament against each other.  

The winner of the NEHC Tournament will gain an automatic bid into the nine-team NCAA Tournament that begins on Friday, March 9. The selection show will air on Monday, March 5 on www.ncaa.com.

THE SERIES: Today marks the 20th all-time meeting between Norwich and UMass Boston in women's ice hockey. The Cadets hold a 15-4-0 lead in the all-time series, including 5-3 and 7-0 wins earlier this season to sweep the season series.

Saturday marks a rematch of the 2016 NEHC Championship game, which UMass Boston won 2-0, ending Norwich's seven-year streak of consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances.

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 241-62-20 record in his tenure as the only head coach the program has known.

UMass Boston is led by third-year coach Lindsay Berman, who guided the Beacons to the 2016 NEHC Championship and has a 47-32-4 career record.

ABOUT THE CADETS: Norwich is led offensively by the NEHC Player of the Year in sophomore forward Amanda Conway, who has 27 goals and 21 assists for 48 points this season.

Junior Adrieana Rossini (21-19-40), sophomore Sophie McGovern (13-24-37), junior Bryn Labbe (14-19-33) and senior Sarah Schwenzfeier (12-23-35) round out the Cadets' top offensive players and earned NEHC All-Conference honors.

Sophomore Alyssa Hulst (15-13-28) ranks third on the team in goals, while defenseman Samantha Benoit (3-21-24) led all NEHC rookies in points. In goal, senior Laurie King is the all-time program shutouts record holder and has compiled a 18-1-3 record with a 1.22 GAA and a .930 save %.

ABOUT THE BEACONS: UMass Boston is led by senior Jane Morrisette, who has 14 goals and four assists for 18 points on the season. Junior Kaleigh Beauregard (7-10-17) and sophomore defenseman Brianna Colucci (3-10-13) have each reached double digits in points.

Senior Alli Bianchini (5-7-12) and junior Edy Moritz (4-7-11) round out the top-five scorers.

Senior Katie Barry is tied for second on the team with seven goals.

In goal, senior Rachel Myette has a 5-11-2 record with a 2.79 goals against average and a .911 save percentage.

By the Numbers: (national rank)

SCORING OFFENSE-
Norwich: 5.63 (1st)
UMass Boston:  2.33 (31st)

SCORING DEFENSE-
Norwich: 1.15 (4th)
UMass Boston:  2.59 (37th)

PENALTY MINUTES PER GAME-
Norwich: 8.4 minutes (31st)
UMass Boston: 8.9 minutes (28th)

POWER PLAY-
Norwich: 32.9 percent (1st)
UMass Boston: 16.1 percent (28th)

PENALTY KILL-
Norwich: 90.5 percent (7th)
UMass Boston: 82.2 percent (39th)