NORTHFIELD, Vt. — Norwich is headed back to Lake Placid.
Just two years removed from claiming the program’s third national championship with a 3-2 double overtime victory over St. Norbert in 2010, the Cadets will make their third consecutive national semifinals appearance after downing Wentworth 3-0 in the NCAA quarterfinal round on Saturday night at Kreitzberg Arena.
Chris Duszynski, Kyle Thomas and Pier-Olivier Cotnoir each scored a goal while sophomore goaltender Parker Carroll made 19 saves to lead Norwich (24-2-2) to the victory.
Duszynski scored just 20 seconds into the game to give the Cadets the only lead it would need on its way to qualifying for its 10th D-III Frozen Four, all coming in the 17 seasons NU head coach Mike McShane has been at the helm of the program.
Duszynski pounced on a loose puck in the slot to beat Wentworth goalie Alex Peck after freshman defenseman Alec Thieda ripped a shot from the blue line off the goal post that bounced right back to Duszynski.
The goal was Duszynski’s 10th of the season and first since Feb. 11 against Castleton. Duszynski reaching the double-digit goals mark now gives the Cadets eight players with 10 or more goals on the season.
NU held the 1-0 lead into the first intermission and maintained an 11-5 shot advantage over the first 20 minutes.
Norwich struck quickly again in the second period as Thomas wristed a shot past Peck’s glove while backing away in the slot for his 16th goal of the season coming off assists from Blake Forkey and Doug Lindensmith.
Cotnoir capped the scoring with his team-leading 21st goal of the season and 12th power play tally on a rocket one-time blast from the point that ricocheted off the inside of the left post and into the back of the net before Peck could see it. Thieda picked up an assist on the play after he fed Cotnoir from the other point.
The goal marked Cotnoir’s 100th career point and he now becomes the 45th player in Norwich men’s hockey history to achieve the milestone. He has 55 goals and 45 assists in 85 career games played. Thomas also moved to within three points of the 100-point milestone with his two point night.
Carroll improved to 16-1-1 on the year and has now won eight straight starts, including all four playoff games so far. Peck made 21 saves and finishes the year at 13-3-1.
Wentworth finishes its season at 21-7-1. The Leopards were making their fifth NCAA Tournament appearance and picked up their first ever NCAA victory on Wednesday with a 3-1 win over Plymouth State in the First Round.
Norwich will now face St. Norbert (18-5-5) for the third straight season in the NCAA semifinals at 4 p.m. at the Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, N.Y. The Green Knights downed Gustavus Adolphus 4-1 in their quarterfinal matchup.
The Cadets will be looking for revenge after St. Norbert knocked NU out in the semifinals last year in Minnesota with a 3-2 win before going on to win the national championship. St. Norbert and Norwich have combined to win three of the last four national championships with the Green Knights taking titles in 2008 and 2011 and Norwich winning in 2010.