NORTHFIELD, Vt. – The Norwich University men’s ice hockey team rolled to its fifth straight NCAA Quarterfinal appearance with an 8-2 victory over Salem State University in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Wednesday night at Kreitzberg Arena.
Norwich (20-6-3) got a pair of goals each from senior forwards Chris Duszynski (Okotoks, Alberta) and Travis Janke (Swift Current, Saskatchewan), as well as freshman Nick Pichette (Massena, N.Y.).
After pulling out to a 3-1 lead after the first period, Norwich padded its lead with four goals in a span of 5:38 with two coming from Duszynski to take a commanding 7-1 lead on Salem State (16-10-2) just past the midway point of the second period.
Norwich opened the scoring just 5:21 into the first period when freshman forward Anthony Flaherty (South Boston, Mass.) stuffed the puck into a wide open net off for his fourth goal of the season to put the Cadets up 1-0.
Sophomore defenseman Ryan Whitell (Calgary, Alberta) set up the goal with a gorgeous no look pass through traffic from the blue line to a wide open Flaherty on the right side of the net. Flaherty double clutched on the pass before slipping the puck behind Salem State goalie Ryan Sutliffe.
The Cadets added to their lead just over three minutes later when Janke tipped a shot from the point by Alec Thieda (Rochester Hills, Mich.) through Sutliffe’s five-hole to extend the NU lead to 2-0.
Norwich pushed the lead to 3-0 at the 17:28 mark with a power play goal by Pichette for his sixth goal on the season. Pichette traded places with Paul Russell (Andover, Mass.) along the side boards and then walked out to the left faceoff dot. He then sniped a wrist shot over Sutliffe’s glove.
Salem State cut into the deficit at the 18:03 mark of the first period when TJ Hermans potted the Vikings first goal of the game off an assist by Andrew Bucci. Bucci took an initial shot that was blocked by a NU defender but he corralled his rebound to fire a pass to a wide open Hermans in front of the net. Hermans tapped the puck past NU starting goalie Chris Czarnota (Wakefield, Mass.) to cut the deficit to 3-1 heading into the first intermission.
Duszynski pushed the lead to 5-1 with two quick back-to-back goals just 1:03 apart for his team-leading 17th and 18th goals of the season. Duszynski one-timed a drop pass from Shane Gorman (Trumbull, Conn.) for his first of the night with a second assist coming from Thieda on a 3-on-2 rush.
Duszynski struck again just moments later when he one-timed another shot past Sutliffe from the right side of the net off a pass from behind the net by Janke. The assist was Janke’s 100th of his career and he now has 154 points, leaving him six shy of 10th on the all-time points list.
Sophomore defenseman Erik Lyrvall (Falun, Sweden), Janke and Pichette each added goals before the second period was over to wrap up the Norwich scoring on the day.
Salem State’s Eric Defelice scored at the 19:09 mark off assists from Kyle Phelan and TJ Hermans to cap the scoring.
Czarnota picked up his 10th win of the season after making 11 saves in 49:21 of work. Senior goalie Parker Carroll (West Chester, Pa.) came on for the final 10 minutes and made one save. Sutliffe was saddled with the loss after making 27 saves on 35 shots. Norwich finished 3-for-4 on the power play, while Salem State was 0-for-1.
Norwich will now await the winner of the SUNY Geneseo/Nichols NCAA First Round game that was postponed from Wednesday due to a New York State of Emergency shutdown. Geneseo and Nichols will now play Thursday at 5 p.m. If Geneseo wins, Norwich will head to there for a NCAA Quarterfinal game on Saturday. If Nichols wins, Norwich would host the Bison on Saturday night at Kreitzberg Arena.
--Courtesy: Norwich Athletics