Norwich’s Colin Mulvey scored with 6.7 seconds left to lift the #2 Cadets to a thrilling 5-4 victory over their long-time archrival Panthers in the 2012 PrimeLink Great Northern ShootOut championship game on Saturday night at Kreitzberg Arena.
Mulvey was named the Tournament Most Valuable Player after he capped off a furious three-goal comeback, helping Norwich turn a 4-2 deficit with just over six minutes remaining into a 5-4 victory to repeat as the PrimeLink Tournament champions. The Cadets (7-0) also claimed their record eighth overall title in the 15-year history of the prestigious tournament.
Travis Janke picked the pocket of a Middlebury player behind the net and wheeled through the right faceoff circle and into the middle of the slot. Instead of shooting, Janke feathered a pass to a wide-open Mulvey who banged the puck past Middlebury goalie Nick BonDurant and into the left side of the net to send the Norwich faithful into a frenzy.
After Middlebury’s Brendan McGovern scored with 12:22 left to give the Panthers a 4-2 lead, Janke ignited the Cadets’ comeback by beating BonDurant five-hole from the left wing off an assist from Tory Allan at the 13:51 mark.
Mulvey’s heroics took over from there as he also scored the game-tying goal at the 15:48 mark when he slipped a puck in between BonDurant’s arm and shoulder to tie the game up at four with just three seconds remaining on a power play after Janke scored NU’s third goal. Janke recorded the primary assist on both of Mulvey’s goals and Alec Thieda picked up an assist on the game-tying goal.
Middlebury (2-1-1) controlled the play in the opening 10 minutes of the game with Chris Brown and Brett Brazier both hitting posts a little over three minutes apart.
However, the Panthers were whistled for a tripping penalty at the 10:55 mark of the period and the Cadets took advantage as Chris Duszynski one-timed a rebound into the back of the net to give NU a 1-0 lead.
Duszynski fired the puck into the back of the net from the bottom of the left faceoff circle after BonDurant couldn’t control the rebound off Shane Gorman’s tip.
Norwich nearly pushed the lead to 2-0 a little under five minutes later as Thomas and Pier-Olivier Cotnoir each rifled shots off the post 14 seconds apart.
Middlebury knotted the game up at one when Matt Silcoff shoveled the puck past Norwich goaltender Chris Czarnota after junior Ben Wiggins’ shot was blocked in front of the net.
Thomas got behind the Middlebury defense on a homerun pass off the boards from Cotnoir to spring him for a breakaway in the final minute of the period but BonDurant made the save with his glove to keep the game tied heading into the first intermission.
Although Norwich outshot Middlebury 10-5 in the second period, the Cadets came out on the short end of a 3-2 score heading into the locker room for the second intermission.
NU did regain the lead again at the 6:41 mark of the second period when Allan scored his fifth goal of the season off assists from Mulvey and sophomore defenseman Corey Hale.
However, Middlebury countered with two quick strikes from Silcoff and Longo just 42 seconds apart at the 14:17 and 14:59 marks to take its first lead of the game.
Silcoff, the Tournament Most Outstanding Rookie, scored his second goal of the game on a textbook redirection in front of the net off a pass from the point from Evan Neugold. George Ordway also picked up an assist on the power play goal for the Panthers to tie the game at two.
Michael Longo scored just moments later when he banked the puck off the right post on his backhand past a sprawled out Czarnota from the left side of the crease after the NU goalie was scrambling to recover from an initial shot by Brown that squirted away. Brazier recorded the second assist on the goal.
McGovern stretched the Middlebury lead to 4-2 when he caused a turnover in the Norwich defensive zone and then beat Czarnota unassisted with a wrist shot for his first collegiate goal.
The Cadets outshot Middlebury 30-23 and were 2-4 on the power play while Middlebury was 1-2. Czarnota made 19 saves for Norwich to record his third win of the season and improve to 11-1-1 in his career. BonDurant made 25 saves in the loss for Middlebury to fall to 2-1-1.
Allan and Erik Lyrvall were named to the All-Tournament team for Norwich. Middlebury’s Neugold, Plattsburgh’s Connor Gorman, and St. Thomas’ Rob Vannelli rounded out the selections.