Middlebury suffered its first D3 home shutout loss since January of '81 as fifth-ranked Norwich picked up a 3-0 win over the seventh-ranked Panthers. Ironically, that shutout loss 27 years ago was a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Norwich. The meeting was the 138th between the schools and the second this season, with Norwich winning a 5-2 decision in November at PrimeLink Great Northern Shootout in Plattsburgh.
Middlebury had a pair of power play opportunities in the first period, but could not take advantage. On their third chance, Norwich's D.J. Fimiani intercepted a puck and broke in two-on-one with Rick Cleaver, who buried the shot for his 22nd goal of the season.
Middlebury had a few chances early in the second period, including a failed power play, but found themselves trailing 1-0. Norwich scored on its first legitimate power play of the game at 13:45 as Eric Lauriault and Cleaver worked a nice give-and-go, resulting in Lauriault's 10th of the season. The Cadets maintained momentum from there and outshot the Panthers 15-8 in the second period.
Middlebury thought they had cut the lead in half at the five-minute mark, but Trevor Dodds' shot hit the crossbar and bounced away. Norwich gained some breathing room midway through the period as Nikita Kashirsky made a nice feed to Eric Ouelette for a goal during a two-on-one play.
Middlebury ended the game 0/5 on the power play, while Norwich went 1/3. David Thompson made 29 saves in goal to earn his second shutout of the season, while Ross Cherry made 27 stops for the Panthers.
Date: February 9, 2008 - 4:00 p.m.
Venue: Kenyon Arena - Site: Middlebury, Vt.
TEAM 1 2 3 OT F
Norwich (17-4) 0 0 0 - 0
Middlebury (14-4-2) 1 1 1 - 3
N-1st (16:47) - SH: Rick Cleaver (D.J. Fimiani)
N-2nd (13:45) - PP: Eric Lauriault (Cleaver)
N-3rd (10:49) - Eric Ouelette (Nikita Kashirsky)
Ross Cherry-M (58:50 min., 27 saves, 3 GA)
David Thompson (60 min., 29 saves, 0 GA)