Norwich Edges Connecticut College

NORTHFIELD, Vt. The Norwich University women's ice hockey team ended the first semester with an unbeaten record for the first time in program history on Sunday afternoon following a 4-2 non-conference win over No. 8/9-ranked Connecticut College.

Norwich (10-0-1, 6-0-0 NEHC) got goals from Adrieana Rossini (Malden, Mass.), Kim Tiberi (Raleigh, N.C.), Brynn Wopperer (Amherst, Mass.) and Alyssa Hulst (Scarborough, Maine) to rally from two different one-goal deficits vs. the Camels.

Conn. College (4-2-1, 3-1-0 NESCAC) got a pair of goals from Lily Connolly, but it wasn't enough as Norwich improved to 3-0-0 all-time vs. the Camels. Sunday's game marked the first meeting between the two schools in women's ice hockey since Jan. 6, 2009.

Connolly gave the Camels a 1-0 lead at the 6:04 mark of the first period, wristing a shot between the body and the arm of Laurie King (Waddington, N.Y.) off an assist from Elena Gualtieri. Gualtieri stole a puck off the half boards and hit Connolly streaking in from the top of the right faceoff circle and then she buried it into the back of the net.

Conn. College continued to dominate a majority of the first period, outshooting Norwich 11-7 in the opening frame. However, NU got one back with just over a minute to go in the period with Hulst scoring on her own rebound off an assist from Sarah Schwenzfeier (Hingham, Mass.). Schwenzfeier found Hulst from behind the net and then Hulst's initial shot was saved but she was the first to her own rebound and slipped the puck behind Bailey Mertz on her forehand to level the score at 1-1 with her ninth goal of the season.

Conn. College took the lead again at the 11:08 mark of the second period with Connolly scoring a beautiful shorthanded goal, skating in from the left, crossing the top of the crease and roofing a backhand inside the right post and under the crossbar for her second of the night and fourth of the season.

However, Norwich responded right back tying the game back up at 2-2 just 10 seconds later when Schwenzfeier found the ensuing faceoff, skated behind the Conn. College net, fed Rossini at the top of the slot and the junior forward one-timed a howitzer into the back of the net.

The goal was Rossini's seventh of the season and team-leading fifth power play goal as she left Mertz with no chance to get back over after she was sliding to her left.

The two teams remained deadlocked at two going into the second intermission.

Norwich came out and dominated the third period, outshooting Conn. College 12-5 and scoring two goals less than four minutes a part in the first eight minutes to take the 4-2 lead.

Wopperer scored her second of the season at the 3:25 mark, finally sliding the puck past Mertz off a scramble in front after Samantha Benoit's (Bow, N.H.) slap shot from the point was saved by Mertz.

Tiberi closed the scoring in her first game back after missing four with an injury with a wrist shot through traffic that beat Mertz for her second goal of the season. Nicole Goebel (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) picked up the assist on the goal after her feeding her the puck from the right corner boards.

King made 20 saves to improve to 8-0-1 on the season. Mertz stopped 23 shots to fall to 3-2-0.

Norwich is off for nearly a month as the Cadets do not play at home again until Jan. 7 and 8 when they host the eighth annual East-West Hockey Classic at Kreitzberg Arena. NU will travel to Trinity on Jan. 3 for a 7:30 non-conference game. This year's East-West Hockey Classic field will feature the current top four ranked teams in the country with No. 1 Norwich hosting No. 3 Plattsburgh at 2 p.m. and No. 2 Elmira taking on No. 4 Adrian at 5 p.m. in the other semifinal matchup on Sunday, Jan. 7. The winners will meet at 4 p.m. on Monday in the finals, while the losers will meet at 1 p.m. in the consolation game.

Courtesy: Norwich Athletics