No. 3 Men's Ice Hockey at No. 1 Norwich
ECAC East Tournament Championship
Saturday, March 7—7:00pm
Kreitzberg Arena—Northfield, Vt.
Babson and Norwich will meet for the 65th time overall and 10th time in the last three seasons on Saturday night. The Cadets hold a 36-22-6 edge all-time in a series that dates back to the 1975-76 season, and have won five of the last six matchups between the two teams, including three by a single goal.
Babson and Norwich will meet in the ECAC East championship game for the third consecutive season and for the fifth time in the last six years on Saturday night with the winner earning the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Beavers are 4-8 all-time in the postseason against the Cadets, but have won back-to-back conference title games at Kreitzberg Arena.
Senior Gerrard McEleney scored the go-ahead goal at 19:50 of the second period, and then-top-ranked Norwich added four third-period goals en route to a 6-1 victory over Babson on February 13 in Babson Park. Sophomores William Pelletier and Nick Pichette scored just nine seconds apart midway through the final period for the Cadets, who got 27 saves from Ty Reichenbach. Sophomore Tim Searles scored at 7:52 of the second period to give the Beavers a 1-0 lead.
LAST BABSON WIN:
Nik Tasiopoulos '14 scored on the power play at 10:29 of the third period, and junior goaltender Jamie Murray made 38 saves to earn Tournament Most Outstanding Player honors as the second-seeded Beavers defeated top-seeded Norwich, 2-1, to win its second consecutive ECAC East championship on March 8, 2014, in Northfield, Vt. Troy Starrett '14 tied the game with his goal just 12 seconds into the third period for the Green and White after sophomore Tyler Piacentini had given the Cadets a 1-0 lead at 12:42 of the first period. Chris Czarnota, who had posted back-to-back shutouts against Babson in the regular season, finished with 14 saves for Norwich.
SCOUTING THE CADETS:
No. 1 USCHO.com/No. 2 D3hockey.com Norwich (23-3-1) advanced to the ECAC East championship game for the sixth consecutive season with a 2-1 win over Castleton last Saturday. Senior Bryce Currier scored the go-ahead goal at 16:10 of the second period, and Reichenbach finished with 13 saves for the Cadets, who moved to 14-0-0 on the season at home. Pelletier (14-22-36), the ECAC East Player of the Year, is tied for ninth in the country in scoring, while junior Dean Niezgoada (12-13-25) has three-game winning goals and has scored twice on the power play this season. McEleney (9-11-20) has eight goals and 17 points against league foes, senior Alec Thieda (3-17-20) is second among conference defensemen in scoring, and Piacentini (9-9-18) has contributed at least one point in four of the last five games. Reichenbach (13-1-1), who has started the last four games, has posted a 1.35 goals against average and a .934 save percentage to go along with three shutouts in 15 starts in between the pipes this season. Norwich, which boasts the country's top-ranked scoring defense allowing just 1.37 goals, is looking to win its 11th ECAC East Tournament championship.
SCOUTING THE BEAVERS:
No. 10 USCHO.com/No. 12 Babson (19-5-3) is making its ninth ECAC East championship game appearance in the last 12 years after knocking off second-seeded UMass-Boston, 5-2, last Saturday. Seniors Andrew Bonazza, Mike Driscoll and Joe DiPietro combined for two goals and two assists, while Murray made 21 of his 40 saves in the third period for the Beavers, who scored three first-period goals. Sophomore Bill Seligman (15-9-24) has recorded at least one point in five straight games, junior Mike Vollmin (4-19-23) is first among conference defensemen in scoring, and sophomore Michael Phillips (10-12-22) is tied for the team lead with five power play goals. Classmate Dan Casey (9-9-18) has two goals and three assists over the last three games, while Searles (6-10-16) has produced 14 points against league opponents. Murray (19-5-3) ranks second nationally in wins, third in save percentage (.941) and saves, fifth in goals against average (1.63), and is tied for the Division III lead with six shutouts on the year. The Green and White, which ranks second nationally in scoring defense and sixth on the power play, is looking to win its seventh ECAC East title.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
The Beavers are 18-1-2 this season when allowing two goals or less.