NORTHFIELD, Vt. – The Norwich University men's ice hockey team defeated Connecticut College 3-0 in the opening round of the 18th annual PrimeLink Great Northern ShootOut on Friday night at Kreitzberg Arena.
Sophomore forward Kevin Salvucci (Plymouth, Mass.) scored twice, while freshman defenseman Dave Robertson (Boissevain, Manitoba) scored his first collegiate goal to lead the Cadets' offense in the victory.
Sophomore goalie Braeden Ostepchuk (Lethbridge, Alberta) made 18 saves for Norwich (7-1-0, 5-1-0 NEHC) to pick up his fourth victory and second shutout of the season.
NU will face No. 2-ranked Plattsburgh State in the 2015 PrimeLink Great Northern ShootOut championship game on Saturday at 7 p.m. Plattsburgh defeated Middlebury 5-4 in a thriller in the opener on Friday afternoon. The Cadets will be looking for their record ninth ShootOut title and first since 2012, while Plattsburgh will be looking to claim its fifth and first since 2013.
Despite a dominant 16-6 shots on goal advantage in the first period, Norwich was unable to get a puck past Conn. College goalie Tom Conlin in the opening frame.
However, things quickly turned around in the second period with Salvucci netting his sixth of the season at 2:52 on a backhand in the middle of the slot of an assist from Paul Russell (Andover, Mass.).
With a Connecticut College defenseman draped on him, Salvucci turned to his right in the slot and whipped a backhander off the left post and into the back of the net to finally solve Conlin and make it 1-0 Norwich.
Salvucci struck again for his seventh tally of the season at the 8:30 mark of the second period, banging home a rebound after an initial shot from sophomore defenseman Connor Evangelista (Middletown, Mass.) caught Conlin in the chest. Junior co-captain Tyler Piacentini (South Weymouth, Mass.) also picked up a secondary assist on the goal.
Robertson put the exclamation point on the middle stanza, wristing home his first collegiate goal from the high slot after a tremendous individual effort by Piacentini to get him the puck. Piacentini won a draw forward and then chased the puck down behind the Connecticut College net, beating a defender and sliding the puck back out to the point to Robertson. Robertson corralled the pass and then beat Conlin high to the right side of the net to make it 3-0 Norwich and cap the three-goal second period.
Neither side added to the scoreboard in the third period, leaving Norwich as the 3-0 victor and a spot in the title game.
Norwich outshot Connecticut College 37-18. Conlin made 34 saves to fall to 0-2-1 on the season. Connecticut College meets Middlebury at 4 p.m. in Saturday's consolation game with the battle of top-10 ranked teams to follow at 7 p.m.