Women’s Hockey: Norwich edges Southern Maine 2-1 on National Championship banner raising night

Kirsten Watts women's hockey action vs. Morrisville

NORTHFIELD, Vt. - The Norwich University women's ice hockey team celebrated its 2018 NCAA Division III Women's Ice Hockey Championship one last time as it raised its championship banner to the Kreitzberg Arena rafters before beating Southern Maine on 2-1 on Friday night. 

Junior defenseman Kirsten Watts (Chugiak, Alaska) and senior forward Adrieana Rossini (Malden, Mass.) each scored goals, while freshman goalie Alexa Berg (West Fargo, N.D.) made 10 saves en route to the victory. 

Norwich (3-2-0, 3-0-0 NEHC) stretched its New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) winning streak to 21 straight games with the win. 

Southern Maine junior goalie Whitney Padgett was brilliant all night for the Huskies in goal, stopping 47 shots to keep USM in the game until the final whistle. 

After a scoreless first period, Watts opened the scoring with her first goal of the season on the power play off assists from Bryn Labbe (Calgary, Alberta) and KC Herne (Akwesasne, N.Y.).  

Herne fed a pass from the middle of the slot to the right side boards and then Labbe threw the puck all the way across the ice to Watts, who corralled the pass in the middle of the left faceoff circle and beat Padgett sliding across the net mouth between her legs for her third goal of her NU career. 

Norwich extended the lead to 2-0 at the 1:18 mark of the third period when Rossini picked a USM clearing attempt off the boards in the defensive zone, skated in on Padgett and beat her on her forehand for her second goal of the season. 

USM (2-2-1, 2-1-0 NEHC) got on the board at the 10:30 mark of the second period when Jill Hannigan poked a puck off a NU defenseman's stick and sprung herself on a breakaway. Hannigan sped in the offensive zone and beat Berg with a high shot glove side to cut the deficit to 2-1 with her second goal of the season. 

Norwich held on for the final 10 minutes to secure the victory in its home opener. The Cadets are home for four more straight games as they host New England College at 5 p.m. next Friday and Castleton on Saturday at 3 p.m. 

Prior to the game Norwich raised its second NCAA Division III National Championship banner to the rafters after the Cadets beat Elmira 2-1 in the title game in Kreitzberg Arena this past March. The title was Norwich's second national championship with the other coming in 2011.

There was a crowd of 953 on hand in Kreitzberg Arena, which was the second largest women's ice hockey crowd in program history behind last year's 1,200-plus crowd at the national championship game.