NORTHFIELD, Vt. – No ECAC East team has beaten Norwich, the No. 1-ranked team in the latest NCAA Division III USCHO Poll, this season. That unbeaten record remained intact Saturday afternoon as the Saint Anselm men's hockey team was the Cadets' latest victim, falling 4-0 at Kreitzberg Arena.
The loss drops Saint Anselm to 6-12-2 overall and 5-8-2 in ECAC East action, while Norwich remained a perfect 14-0 in league play and 18-2-1 overall.
Norwich got on the scoreboard early in the first period, as Nick Pachette scooped up a loose puck on the right side near the Saint Anselm blue line and beat the Hawks' freshman goaltender Shane Joyce (Pembroke, Mass.) 1-on-1 for the game's opening tally at the 5:24 mark. The Cadets made it 2-0 just three minutes later as Joyce made the initial save on a stuff-in attempt by Norwich's Trevor Steward, but the carom went right to the stick of Austin Surowiec who punched it in top shelf over Joyce's outstretched arm.
Despite being outshot 27-8 through the first two periods, the Hawks held tough in the second stanza and kept the normally potent Norwich scoreless. The Cadets nearly added a goal with just seconds remaining in the second period as a slapper from the right side was deflected high into the air directly in front of Joyce. The puck bounced around, eventually finding the stick of a Cadet who pushed it across to the right side, where Joyce just got a skate on it to preserve the two-goal deficit heading into the second intermission.
Behind two goals, Saint Anselm hung close throughout the third period, taking control after some careless turnovers by Norwich. However, the Hawks failed to turn any of those turnovers into on-net threats.
With just over three minutes remaining in the game, Joyce was pulled in favor of another attacker, but Norwich would dump in a pair of empty-netters in the closing frame to claim its season sweep of Saint Anselm, 4-0.
While Joyce took the loss in net, he recorded 30 saves on the night—his seventh game with at least 30 saves this season—and fell to 6-8-2 for the Hawks. Norwich's Braeden Ostepchuk added an 11-save shutout to his resume while improving to 9-2 on the year.
Saint Anselm will return to Northeast-10 Conference play with a Tuesday matchup against crosstown rival Southern New Hampshire University. The teams last played in the opening round of the NE-10 Tournament last season, where the Penmen upset host Saint Anselm 4-1 at Sullivan Arena. The Hawks will get an opportunity for revenge Tuesday, traveling to the Ice Den in nearby Hooksett, N.H., in an important Queen City Cup matchup.