Courtesy of Norwich Sports Information
NORTHFIELD, Vt. - The No. 1-ranked Norwich University men's ice hockey team secured its eighth ECAC East Tournament title on Saturday evening by defeating Babson College, 4-1, in front of 2,204 spectators in the tournament's title game at Kreitzberg Arena.
The top-seeded Cadets, who will advance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2007-08 campaign, improve to 23-1-4. The second-seeded Beavers, meanwhile, finish their 2009-10 season with an overall record of 14-12-2.
The Cadets, who earned the ECAC East's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament field, will now wait until Sunday evening to discover their fate.
Freshman F Tory Allen and junior D Greg Eskedjian paced the Cadets' offense with one goal and one assist apiece. Freshman F Pier-Oliver Cotnoir added two assists, while freshman F Scott Schroeder and sophomore F Emmond Bell each added one goal each.
Norwich outshot Babson 8-6 during a scoreless first period.
The Cadets broke the deadlock early in the second stanza when Allen scored his eighth goal of the year off assists from Eskedjian and Cotnoir at the 1:33 mark. Eskedjian took a pass from Cotnoir at the blue line and fired a shot at Babson goaltender Zeke Testa. Testa was able to save Eskedjian's attempt, but the rebound caromed to Allen, who was able to poke the puck into the net.
The Cadets made it 2-0 later in the second period when Schroeder scored his seventh goal of the season off a beautiful pass from his twin brother freshman F Steven Schroeder. Allen was responsible for starting the play as the first-year forward moved the puck to Steven Schroeder. He then worked a pretty two-on-one play with his brother, drawing Testa out of the cage before sliding a pass to Scott Schroeder. He had plenty of net to shoot at, and he buried the puck into the goal to put Norwich in front 2-0 at the 18:26 mark.
NU outshot Babson in the second period by a 20-8 margin.
Norwich delivered the knockout punch early in the third period when Bell scored his seventh marker of the year off a feed from sophomore F Tim Houston. Cotnoir, who helped break the puck out of the NU zone, got credit for an assist on the goal as well.
Babson broke up the shutout bid late in the third period when Chris Wood scored with 43 seconds remaining. The goal, which was assisted by Mike McMahon, came after the Beavers had pulled Testa in favor of the extra attacker.
Norwich completed the scoring when Eskedjian scored an empty-net goal with just five ticks left on the clock. The unassisted marker was Eskedjian's sixth of the season.
Klingensmith, who was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, finished with 26 saves for the Cadets. Scott Schroeder, Allen and senior D Tyler Stitt all represented Norwich on the all-tournament team. Ryan Smith and Wood were named to the all-tournament team for Babson.
Testa, who finished with 30 saves for the Beavers in the loss, set the Babson program record for goals-against average this season (2.03).
Norwich outshot Babson 34-27 in the game. Both teams went 0-for-2 on the power play.