NORTHFIELD, Vt. – Babson scored three first-period goals and received 33 saves from senior goalie Zeke Testa en route to a 4-1 victory against top-ranked Norwich in an ECAC East matchup at Kreitzberg Arena on Saturday. It was the Beavers’ third win against a nationally ranked team in the last month, as they improved to 9-3-2 overall and 5-2-1 in the ECAC East.
Norwich dropped to 13-2-0 overall and 8-1-0 in league play.
Testa was the story of the game as the veteran goalie stymied the Cadet offense, despite the Beavers being outshot 26-5 during the final two periods. In addition to Saturday’s victory, Testa had previously taken Norwich to overtime four times in five starts against the Cadets.
Mike Driscoll, Ryan Smith and Connor Berto each scored goals in the first period to stake Babson to a 3-0 lead that proved to be too much for the Cadets to overcome.
Driscoll opened the scoring at the 4:05 mark of the first period when he slipped a rebound past goalie Chris Czarnota on his backhand after an initial shot from Ben Kravitz was blocked by the Cadet goaltender. Andrew Bonazza picked up an assist on the goal.
Smith pushed the lead to 2-0 when he beat Czarnota five-hole off a pass from Jay Haseley from behind the Norwich cage at the 8:56 mark of the first. Haseley skated behind the goal line and then slid the puck back out to Smith, who made the shot through Czarnota’s pads.
Berto made it 3-0 for the Beavers when he beat Czarnota five-hole again off a pass from PT Donato. Troy Starrett picked up the second assist on the goal as he carried the puck into the zone and was checked off the puck by NU defenseman Erik Lyrvall. Donato scooped up the puck and continued to drive to the net, drawing a horde of NU defenders to him. Instead of attempting a shot, Donato slid the puck across to the other faceoff circle where Berto was standing. Berto turned and got the puck, sliding it through Czarnota’s five-hole as the NU goalie tried to get across the crease to make the save.
Testa continued to stone the NU offense and stopped all 12 shots he faced in the second period. Meanwhile, Babson was only able to muster four shots on NU’s Parker Carroll, who came in relief of Czarnota at the start of the second period.
Norwich was finally able to break through at the 8:18 mark of the third period when junior forward Travis Janke batted a puck out of midair into the back of the net while on the power play to cut the deficit to 3-1. Senior forwards Colin Mulvey and Kyle Thomas recorded assists on the goal.
Haseley added an insurance goal at the 19:06 mark of the period by flipping a puck from center ice into an empty net after NU head coach Mike McShane pulled Carroll in favor of the extra attacker. Haseley’s goal was Babson’s only shot of the third period with the Cadets outshooting the Beavers 14-1.
Czarnota made five saves in the first period and suffered his first loss of the 2012-13 season. Carroll made four saves in the 39:07 of game action he saw in the final two periods.
Testa improved to 2-1-1 on the season.
Saturday’s win was just Babson’s second against Norwich in the last 15 years and its first since the ECAC East Semifinal round on March 3, 2007. Despite the Cadets’ overall success, the rivalry has been particularly intense during the last two years, with three of the last six meetings ending in ties.