NORTHFIELD, Vt. -- Norwich completed the first of four steps on the road to repeating as the Division III national champions with a 5-1 win against Curry on Wednesday in a NCAA First Round game at Kreitzberg Arena.

The Cadets (21-5-3) jumped out to an early lead and then survived a ferocious Curry fore-check over the first 10 minutes of the first period. NU settled down in the second half of the period and added another goal late in the opening stanza to put the Cadets well on their way to advancing to a quarterfinal date with SUNY Plattsburgh on Saturday night in Plattsburgh.

Norwich needed just 57 seconds to draw first blood when a loose rebound from a shot by Blake Forkey bounced right to the stick of Chad Anderson who buried the puck for his 10th goal of the season to give the Cadets a 1-0 lead.

Curry goaltender Robert Dawson made the initial save, but couldn’t control the rebound. The puck bounced to Chad Anderson near the middle of the left face-off circle. Anderson quickly fired back at Dawson and ended up catching the inside of his left arm and bouncing into the back of the net.

Curry’s aggressive fore-check gave the Norwich defense nightmares throughout the first period, creating numerous turnovers and scoring chances for the Colonels.

At the 2:40 mark of the first period, Curry had two quality scoring chances where NU goaltender Parker Carroll made an initial save and then a follow up save as Curry defender corralled the puck and tried to score on the backhand, but Carroll deflected the attempt away.

With nine minutes left, Curry had two more point-blank shot attempts by George Isham and Ray Nicks that Carroll stuffed to keep the Colonels off the board.

Norwich regrouped toward the end of the period and started to create scoring chances again.

Scott Schroeder broke through at the 17:43 mark to push the Norwich lead to 2-0 when he slapped home a rebound in the slot after Dawson made an initial save on Zac Fulton’s shot from the point. Travis Janke also picked up an assist for NU as well.

The Cadets outshot Curry 11-8 in the first period.

NU carried the late momentum from the first period over to the start of the second period when Forkey lit the lamp with a snipe from the middle of the left faceoff circle that hit upper 90 on the far post and dropped down into the back of the net leaving Dawson no chance at all.

However, at the 4:53 mark of the period, Curry cut into the Norwich lead with its first and only goal of the game when Michael Lopez capitalized on a NU defensive turnover by sending a wrist shot on net through traffic after a drop pass from George Isham. The puck found its way through traffic and past Carroll to cut the lead to 3-1.

However, that’s as close as Curry would get as late in the period the Cadets regained their three-goal lead when Scott Schroeder pumped home his second goal of the game and 20th of the season.

Schroeder once again capitalized on a loose rebound, stuffing the puck into a wide open net from the doorstep of the crease after Dawson made a save on Fulton’s shot.

Emmond Bell capped the scoring to stretch the lead to 5-1 with his sixth goal of the season at the 7:20 mark of the third period. Bell initial shot was saved by Dawson, but he followed up his shot and stuffed the rebound through Dawson’s pad to thwart any chance of a late Curry comeback.

Norwich outshot Curry 42-16 and converted on both of its power plays with goals from Schroeder.

Carroll turned aside all 16 shots he faced to keep his unbeaten streak alive and improve to 13-0-2 on the season for the Cadets.

Dawson was saddled with the loss for Curry after making 37 saves and finished the year with a 8-7-1 record.

Curry finishes the year with a 16-9-3 record after having won its second consecutive ECAC Northeast Tournament title. The Colonels lost 4-1 to Elmira College in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament last year.

Norwich advances to the NCAA Quarterfinals on Saturday where the Cadets will take their third crack at the SUNY Plattsburgh Cardinals at the Stafford Ice Arena. Plattsburgh (20-7-1) has won both meetings so far this season with a 3-2 win in the PrimeLink Great Northern ShootOut championship game and then a 7-4 win in early January in a non-conference tilt.

The Cardinals advanced to the NCAA Tournament by winning their 20th SUNYAC title with a 4-1 win against Fredonia last Saturday. Plattsburgh hasn’t lost a non-conference game all season and finished the regular season with an 8-0-1 record out of the SUNYAC.

Face-off is set for 7 p.m. and the winner will advance to the 2011 NCAA Division III Men’s Ice Hockey Championships to be held in Minneapolis, Minn. at the University of Minnesota’s Ridder Arena on March 25 and 26.