Overtime Goal Lifts Norwich Past Middlebury in NCAA Hockey Action

Lizzie Sheline battles for the puck during Saturday's NCAA Quarterfinal (Will Costello).
Lizzie Sheline battles for the puck during Saturday's NCAA Quarterfinal (Will Costello).

Norwich's Sophie McGovern scored 2:28 into the second overtime, lifting the visiting Cadets to a 5-4 victory over Middlebury in the NCAA Women's Hockey Quarterfinals Saturday in Kenyon Arena. Fourth-ranked Norwich (23-5-1) advances to face Plattsburgh State in the NCAA Semifinals, while the Panthers cap their season at 19-7-2.

Middlebury skated to the early lead, scoring 3:13 into the contest. Defender Carly Watson sent a sharp outlet pass from her own goal line to Maddie Winslow in the neutral zone. Winslow skated along the left wing and hit Kelly Sherman in the slot, who elevated a shot into the top-right corner of the net for a 1-0 advantage.

The Cadets came close to knotting the score four minutes later when Sarah Schwenzfeier fired a shot on the Panther goal that goalie Julia Neuburger stopped. Adrieana Rossini collected the rebound and tried a wrap-around attempt to the other side of the net, but Neuburger again made the save.

In the middle period, the hosts opened up a two-goal edge when Winslow slid a rebound through Norwich goalie Laurie King on a shot that came from Grace Jennings at the right point. The Cadets then netted a pair of goals 39 seconds apart to tie the game at 2-2. Schwenzfeier scored on a pass from below the goal line from Rossini at the 10:05 mark, while Bryn Labbe poked in a rebound for the second tally.

The Panthers scored a late go-ahead goal when Anna Zumwinkle wristed in a shot from the right point that found its way through traffic. The goal came with 40.7 seconds on the clock and was her fourth of the season.

Early in the third period, Rachael St. Clair found a loose puck at the top of the Cadet crease and deposited her third tally of the season 2:07 into the period for a 4-2 lead. Norwich again struck twice for a pair of goals in less than a minute. Kim Tiberi one-timed a centering pass from Schwenzfeier at the 16:21 mark, while Adelle Murphy tipped in a pass from Tiberi as she was falling to the ice seconds later. Neither team was able to get on the scoreboard in the final three minutes, setting up overtime. Tiberi's goal snapped Middlebury's string of killing off 37-straight penalties.

There was plenty of action in the first 20-minute overtime period with the teams combining for 23 shots and two full power plays. The Panthers had a power play in the opening seconds and King made a tremendous save seconds into the advantage, sliding to her left to thwart a bid by Sidney Portner. Neuburger made the save of the period while the Cadets were on the power play, moving to her right to deny Tiberi's bid at the game winner as she moved in from the point. Neuburger later made another clutch stop, staying with McGovern as she cut across the top of the crease sticking out her left pad for the save and then covered the rebound.

The Panthers started the second overtime with 1:59 of carry-over power-play time and had four shots on goal, but Norwich scored less than a minute later when McGovern jammed in a rebound at the right post.

Neuburger finished with 29 saves and King turned back 41 shots for Norwich as the hosts held a 45-34 advantage in shots on goal. The Cadets scored once in five power-play chances, while Middlebury came up empty in six opportunities.

This marked the third time these programs have met in the NCAA Tournament, with Middlebury downing the Cadets 3-2 in overtime in the 2013 NCAA Quarterfinals at Norwich. The Cadets turned the tables two years later with a 3-2 win of their own in the 2015 NCAA Quarterfinals at Kenyon Arena.