NORTHFIELD, Vt. – The Norwich University women's ice hockey team survived a stern test from seventh-seeded UMass Boston with a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over the Beacons on Saturday afternoon in the New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) Semifinals.
Norwich (20-5-2) got a pair of goals from junior forward Sophie McGovern (Hermantown, Minn.), as well as another from Brynn Wopperer (Amherst, N.Y.) as the Cadets rallied from two separate one-goal deficits to escape with the victory.
Sophomoe Emily Lambert (Riverview, Mich.) made 18 saves to pick up the victory and improve to 13-4-1 on the season.
One week after upsetting No. 2 seed Suffolk, UMass Boston (10-15-2) took a 1-0 lead at the 14:49 mark of the first period on a power play goal from Kaleigh Beauregard off an assist from Erica Lunn. Beauregard fired a wrist shot from the top of the slot off a pass from behind the net by Lunn for her fourth goal of the season.
UMass Boston carried the 1-0 lead into the first intermission and outshot Norwich 8-7 in the opening frame.
Norwich needed just 53 seconds to tie the game back up in the second period as McGovern sniped a wrist shot into the top left corner of the net from the top of the slot off a pass from Amanda Conway (Methuen, Mass.) near the Norwich bench. Maddie Moell (Clarence Center, N.Y.) picked up the second assist starting the break out with a cross-ice pass to Conway in the neutral zone.
UMass Boston continued to be a thorn in the side of the Cadets though as Jane Morrisette regained the one-goal lead for the Beacons with a stuff in attempt on top of the crease after an initial shot by Casey Adimey at the point took a weird deflection and wound up sitting in the NU crease. Arielle Gallucci picked up the second assist on the goal.
Norwich answered just over four minutes later with Wopperer scoring an unassisted goal for her seventh of the season at the 15:33 mark. Wopperer stripped a puck off a UMass player's stick on the forecheck and then capitalized on another Beacon defender falling over to possess the puck at the right wing. Wopperer dragged the puck around another defender and then sent a twisted wrister into the top right corner of the net and over the glove of UMB's Caty Flagg to tie the game at 2-2.
McGovern scored the game-winning goal for her 13th goal of the season and her 99th career point when she tipped a shot off the crossbar and in as she crossed through the slot. Kirsten Watts (Chugiak, Alaska) took the initial shot from the point off a defense to defense pass from the Samantha Benoit (Bow, N.H.).
Neither side was able to score again although UMass Boston's Morrisette nearly tied the game with four seconds left as she hit the post with a close shot from the left goal line that deflected away from the NU net.
Norwich advances to its 11th straight appearance in the NEHC Championship. The Cadets will be looking for their ninth NEHC Tournament title when they host the winner of No. 3 seed Castleton and No. 5 seed Johnson & Wales on Saturday, March 2 at Kreitzberg Arena.