NORTHFIELD, Vt. – The Norwich University women's ice hockey team is headed back to its second straight and seventh overall NCAA Division III Women's Ice Hockey Championship weekend following an 8-2 victory over Morrisville State on Saturday at Kreitzberg Arena in the NCAA Quarterfinals.
For the first time in program history, No. 1/2-ranked Norwich (25-1-3) will host the championship weekend as the Cadets continue the quest for their second national championship in just their 11th season at the varsity level.
Sophomore forward Amanda Conway (Methuen, Mass.) had a record-breaking night, tallying a hat trick in the second period as part of a four-point night to lead the Cadets' offense on the day.
Conway broke Julie Fortier's '12 single-season goals record with her 32nd goal of the season at the 17:44 mark of the second period. Conway later tied Fortier's single-season points record with an assist on Norwich's eighth goal for her 55th point of the season.
Morrisville (17-8-3) shocked the largest women's hockey crowd of the season to date, taking the lead at the 9:01 mark with a goal from Alexziz Giannamore. Giannamore sniped the top corner of the net from the top of the slot off assists from Jessica Ujcik and Kim Hughes.
However, Norwich came storming back with three goals in a span of 2:55 to take a 3-1 lead that it would never look back from.
Sophomore Maddi Blauth (Pennington, N.J.) got things rolling for the nation's No. 1-ranked offense with her third goal of the season. Blauth picked the puck off the boards from a Morrisville defender and then fired a wrist shot from a low angle that squeezed between Morrisville goalie Karoline Årvik and the post to knot the score at 1-1.
Just 42 seconds later, sophomore Alyssa Hulst (Scarborough, Maine) scored her first of the game walking out of the corner and cutting through the slot before slipping a backhand shot past the glove of Arvik to give the Cadets a 2-1 lead.
Hulst scored again at the 15:49 mark of the first period on a rebound in the crease for her 17th goal of the season to make it 3-1. Robyn Foley (Goulds, Newfoundland and Labrador) and Adrieana Rossini (Malden, Mass.) picked up assists on the goal. Foley's initial shot from the point was saved by Arvik but Hulst was there to put the rebound away and fully seize momentum heading into the first intermission.
Conway stole the show in the second period, scoring three of Norwich's four goals as the Cadets skated away from the Mustangs to take a 7-1 lead after 40 minutes.
Conway used her speed to collect an indirect pass off the boards from Sophie McGovern (Hermantown, Minn.) to barrel in on Arvik from the right wing and then slip the puck behind the Mustang goalie to make it 4-1 with her 30th goal of the season.
She made it 5-1 at the 6:29 mark with a power play goal off assists from McGovern and Labbe. Blauth increased the lead to 6-1 with her second of the game, scoring on a rebound to the right of the slot for her fourth of the season. Jessica Piracini (Tewksbury, Mass.) and Samantha Benoit (Bow, N.H.) each picked up assists on the goal.
Conway capped the hat trick at the 17:44 mark of the second period with her record-setting goal off assists from McGovern and Labbe. She scored on a rebound off a scrum in the crease to make it 7-1 Norwich.
Morrisville got one back just 51 seconds into the third period with Shanley Austin scoring her third of the season on a deflection off an initial shot by Chyne Kennedy. Kaitlyn Schlake picked up the second assist on the goal to cut the deficit to 7-2.
Norwich capped the scoring at the 10:34 mark with Nicole Goebel (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) scoring her eighth of the season off assists from Conway and Labbe.
Senior goalie Laurie King (Waddington, N.Y.) tied Cindy Fortin '11 for the program-record for career wins with her 50th victory. King made nine saves before being relieved for the final 13:55 by freshman Emily Lambert (Riverview, Mich.). Lambert came in and stopped all three shots she saw. King is now 20-1-3 on the season.
Norwich will host the winner of UW-Eau Claire and Hamline. Perennial powerhouses Elmira and Plattsburgh State will meet in the other semifinal. Elmira defeated Adrian 2-0 and four-time defending national champion Plattsburgh State downed Middlebury 2-1 to each punch their tickets to the semifinals.
Prior to the game, Montpelier-native and United States Olympic women's ice hockey gold medalist Amanda Pelkey dropped the puck in a special pre-game ceremony.
More information will be available on Monday on www.norwichathletics.com with ticket information and games times.