The Babson College men's ice hockey team scored three first period goals and senior goalie Zeke Testa stopped 33 shots to upset No. 1-ranked Norwich University 4-1 on Saturday afternoon at Kreitzberg Arena in ECAC East action.
Testa was the story of the game as the veteran goalie stymied the high-octane Cadet offense despite the Beavers being outshot 26-5 over the final two periods. Saturday's victory marked the first time Babson beat Norwich (13-2-0, 8-1-0 ECAC East) since March 3, 2007. Testa had also taken Norwich to overtime four times though in his previous five starts against the Cadets, tallying a 0-2-3 record.
Mike Driscoll, Ryan Smith and Connor Berto each scored goals in the first period to stake Babson (9-3-2, 5-2-1 ECAC East) to a 3-0 lead that coupled with the play of Testa, proved to be too much for the Cadets to overcome.
Driscoll opened the scoring at the 4:05 mark of the period when he slipped a rebound past NU starting goalie Chris Czarnota (Wakefield, Mass.) on his backhand after an initial shot from Ben Kravitz was blocked by the Cadet goaltender. Andrew Bonazza also picked up an assist on the goal.
Smith pushed the lead to 2-0 when he beat Czarnota five-hole off a pass from Jay Haseley from behind the NU cage at the 8:56 mark of the first. Haseley skated in from the left wing and made a move around the NU defender. He continued to wheel behind the goal line and then just before crossing behind the goal he slid the puck back out to Smith who banged the shot through Czarnota's pads.
The Beavers weren't done yet though as Connor Berto made it 3-0 when he beat Czarnota five-hole again off a pass from PT Donato.
Troy Starrett picked up the second assist on the goal as he carried the puck into the zone and was checked off the puck by NU defenseman Erik Lyrvall. Donato scooped up the puck though and continue to drive to the net drawing a horde of NU defenders to him. Instead of attempting a shot, Donato slid the puck across to the other faceoff circle where Berto was standing. Berto turned and got the puck on his forehand and slid it through Czarnota's five-hole as the NU goalie tried to get across the crease to make the save.
Norwich picked up the intensity in the second period in frantic search of a goal. However, Testa continued to stone the NU offense and stopped all 12 shots he faced in the period, while Babson was only able to muster four on NU's Parker Carroll (West Chester, Pa.) who came in relief of Czarnota at the start of the second period.
Norwich was finally able to break through at the 8:18 mark of the third period when junior forward Travis Janke (Swift Current, Sask.) batted a puck out of midair into the back of the net while on the power play to cut the deficit to 3-1. Senior forwards Colin Mulvey (Worcester, Mass.) and Kyle Thomas (Waltham, Mass.) recorded assists on the goal.
However, that's as close as Norwich would get as Haseley added the backbreaker at the 19:06 mark of the period by flipping a puck from center ice into an empty net after NU head coach Mike McShane pulled Carroll in favor of the extra attacker. Haseley's goal was Babson's only shot of the third period with the Cadets outshooting the Beavers 14-1.
Czarnota made five saves in the first period and suffered his first loss of the 2012-13 season. Carroll made four saves in the 39:07 of game action he saw in the final two periods.
Testa improved to 2-1-1 on the season and made his first start since Dec. 5 after freshman goalie Jamie Murray had started 10 of the last 11 games for Babson.
Norwich still sits comfortably in first place as the Cadets chase their unprecedented 15th straight ECAC East regular season title. NU has 16 points with Babson and Saint Anselm tied for second with 11 points each.
The Cadets have lost two of its last three games after starting the season 11-0-0. Both losses have come at home at Kreitzberg Arena where before last Saturday's 5-3 loss to Neumann, NU boasted a 35-game unbeaten streak.
Norwich looks to get back on track next Friday when it travels up Interstate 89 for an in-state ECAC East travel partner matchup with St. Michael's at 7 p.m. at Cairns Arena in South Burlington.
---Norwich Athletic Department Press Release---
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