WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. – The Norwich University women's ice hockey team fell short in its quest for a repeat as NCAA Division III national champions after a 3-1 loss to Williams College on Wednesday night in the NCAA Tournament First Round at Lansing Chapman Rink.
Junior forward Amanda Conway (Methuen, Mass.) scored her NCAA Division III-leading 30th goal of the season, but it wasn't enough as Williams scored twice in the third period to pull away for its first-ever NCAA Tournament victory.
Sophomore Emily Lambert (Riverview, Mich.) made 22 saves in goal to finish the season 14-5-1.
Williams (21-4-3) took a 1-0 lead at the 3:27 mark of the second period with Abby Brustad shoveling home a rebound on the left post after Meghan Halloran's initial shot from the right faceoff circle deflected off a body in front and hit the crossbar before landing to the left of the cage. Brustad swooped in unmarked to pot home the rebound for her 10th goal of the season.
Norwich (21-6-2) responded at the 7:09 mark of the second period with a power play goal by Conway for her NCAA Division III-leading 30th goal of the season. Conway pushed a rebound over the goal line crashing from the right side of the net after Maggie Conroy's (Batavia, Ill.) shot from the left boards hit the inside of the right post. Conway alertly crashed the net and slapped the puck over the goal line before Williams' goalie Chloe Heiting could get over to cover the post. Senior Jessica Piracini (Arlington, Mass.) picked up the second assist on the goal.
Norwich continued to control the play for large portions of the second period, outshooting Williams 18-8 in the middle frame.
The Cadets nearly took a 2-1 lead early in the third period with Conway feathering a perfect pass through a Williams defender on a 2-on-1, but Sophie McGovern (Hermantown, Minn.) was robbed by a sprawling pad save from Heiting.
Just moments later Williams took the lead for good with a fortunate bounce on a dump in by Brynn Puppe that deflected off Lambert's stick and between her legs to give the Ephs a 2-1 lead at the 5:39 mark of the third period.
Avery Dunn added an insurance goal for Williams at the 11:50 mark with a power play goal off assists from Amanda Reisman and Eliza Quigley. Reisman backhanded the puck from behind the net to find Dunn cutting through the slot and Dunn immediately one-timed the puck into the net for the Ephs' third goal of the game.
Norwich outshot Williams 33-25 for the game. Conway registered a game-high nine shots on goal.
Wednesday's game was the first meeting between Norwich and Williams in women's ice hockey since 2010. The Ephs beat the Cadets for the first time after falling 4-2 in 2009 and then tying 1-1 in 2010.
Wednesday's game marked the final game in the collegiate careers for seven Norwich seniors in Bryn Labbe (Calgary, Alberta), Carly Menges (Novelty, Ohio), Liesel Baker (Saline, Mich.), Adrieana Rossini (Malden, Mass.), Robyn Foley (Goulds, Newfoundland and Labrador), Piracini and Conroy.