BOSTON – Senior forward Shane Gorman (Trumbull, Conn.) loves playing at Fenway Park.
After scoring two goals in the Cadets’ first trip to Frozen Fenway in 2012, Gorman scored the only goal of the game to lead the No. 5-ranked Norwich University men’s ice hockey team to a 1-0 win over rival Babson College on Thursday night at historic Fenway Park in Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) East action.
Senior goalie Chris Czarnota (Wakefield, Mass.) made his first start of the season a special one, stopping all 21 shots he faced to earn his seventh career shutout.
Norwich (10-1-2, 7-0-1 ECAC East) defeated Babson (11-3-0, 5-2-0 ECAC East) for the second time in the last three years at Fenway Park. The Cadets also downed the Beavers 4-1 on Jan. 11, 2012 in the first-ever Division III hockey game to be played at the historic home of the 2013 World Champion Boston Red Sox.
After two scoreless periods, Gorman finally broke the ice by putting home a rebound just past the midway point of the third stanza in what would prove to the difference in the tight affair between the two perennial contenders in the ECAC East.
After Babson sophomore goalie Jamie Murray made an initial save on a low shot from the blue line by NU sophomore defender Ryan Whitell (Calgary, Alberta), Gorman pounced on the rebound on the left wing and fired the puck past a stretched out Murray for his sixth goal of the season. Senior forward Chris Duszynski (Okotoks, Alberta) picked up the second assist on the goal.
Gorman finally cashed in after being Norwich’s most consistent threat to score most of the night. He had two back-to-back chances stonewalled by Murray in the second period and he registered a team-high seven shots on goal in the game.
Earlier in the third period, Murray made the save of the game with a lunging save to stymie Norwich sophomore forward Dean Niezgoda (Brewster, Mass.) on a wraparound that seemed destined for the back of the net.
Babson wasn’t short of chances either, including an impressive individual effort by Nik Tasiopolous late in the first period where he stick handled through an NU defender and just missed firing a shot to the right of the net.
The Beavers dominated for a large portion early in the second period and briefly took the lead in shots on goal before Norwich finally was able to pick up steam and get rolling again late in the period.
Norwich was whistled for three minor penalties, while Babson took two. Neither side was able to convert on the power play.
Norwich improved to 33-21-6 in its 60 all-time meetings with Babson. The Cadets also beat Babson 4-0 in last year’s NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals after the Beavers had upset Norwich one week earlier in the ECAC East Tournament finals at Kreitzberg Arena.
Norwich has now won five straight as it heads into another crucial ECAC East showdown with UMass-Boston on Friday night at 7pm at Clark Athletic Center. UMass-Boston has won eight straight games, including a 4-2 win over Salem State on Tuesday at Fenway Park.
Norwich had 12 returners on its roster from its previous trip to Fenway Park in 2012. The Cadets have 11 players from Massachusetts on their roster, including seven freshmen.