Cadets Edge Plattsburgh in 3-2 OT
Norwich makes return trip to Frozen Four
Senior captain Chad Anderson scored the game-winning goal with 2:17 left in the first overtime to punch the Norwich men's ice hockey team's ticket to its second straight final four with a 3-2 win over SUNY Plattsburgh in the NCAA Quarterfinals on Saturday night at the Ronald B. Stafford Ice Arena.
Sophomore forward Blake Forkey found Anderson all alone in front of the net after the Plattsburgh defense got caught pinching up. Anderson corralled the pass, turned and then fired the puck top shelf over the glove of Plattsburgh goaltender Josh Leis to send the Norwich players pouring off the bench to mob him in the corner.
Anderson's 11th goal of the season gave the Cadets (22-5-3) their first win at the Stafford Ice Arena since 2003 and also avenged two previous losses at Plattsburgh earlier this season.
Norwich advances to the NCAA Semifinals at the University of Minnesota's Ridder Arena where it will face St. Norbert (23-4-1) in a rematch of last year's national championship game, which the Cadets won 2-1 in double overtime.
Plattsburgh (20-8-1)used two early power plays in the first 10 minutes of the first period to take control of the game and dominate the possession.
However, Parker Carroll stood tall between the pipes for Norwich to keep the Cardinals' offense at bay. Norwich didn't record its first shot on goal until the 11:57 mark of the period Anderson flung a wrist shot at Leis.
Leis couldn't control the rebound which resulted in a scrum in front of the net and allowed Norwich to get a couple of whacks at the puck, but Leis and his defense were able to keep it out of the net.
Plattsburgh was finally rewarded for its effort when Dylan Clarke won a battle in the corner and walked out all alone. Clarke fed the puck to Dan Sliasis waiting at the far post who buried it into the open net, leaving Carroll no chance and gave the Cardinals a 1-0 lead at the 17:27 mark of the period.
Plattsburgh led shots 10-3 after the first period.
The start of the second period proved to be an exact replica of the first period, only this time Norwich carried the play and held Plattsburgh without a shot for the first 10 minutes of the period.
Norwich wasted little time tying the game up at one as Pier-Olivier Cotnoir continued his knack for scoring big goals in big games by beating Plattsburgh goalie Josh Leis on a wrist shot from the point while on a power play.
Greg Eskedjian fed the puck to Cotnoir at the opposing point and Cotnoir sent a wrist shot through traffic that found its way past Leis' shoulder to tie the game up at one just 29 seconds into the second period.
Just under three minutes later, Cotnoir struck once again on the power play with his 20th goal of the season and second of the game by burying a one timer at hash marks off a feed from Travis Janke to give the Cadets their first lead of the game at 2-1.
Plattsburgh turned up the pressure in the second half of the period and threatened with multiple great scoring chances. Jared Docking had three by himself, two of them coming while shorthanded, but all three shots sailed just wide of the net.
The Cardinals continued to build momentum as the period dragged on and with 1:30 left with the Cadets already a man down, Pasha Kozhokin was whistled for a tripping penalty to put Norwich down two men.
Eric Satim had a golden opportunity on the door step to tie the game off a feed from Mike Grace at the blue line. However, Satim got hung up along the post and the puck deflected off his stick and into the side of the net.
Norwich was able to kill off the first penalty, but just six seconds after Cotnoir returned to the ice, Plattsburgh finally leveled the score.
Ryan Corry took a shot from the point that hit the outside of the net to Carroll's right. Kyle Kudroch was positioned at the top of the crease and slid the puck past a diving Carroll on the backhand to tie the game up at two with just 24 seconds left in the period.
Neither side was able to pull ahead in the third period with Plattsburgh leading shots 8-5.
The overtime session featured back and forth action with both sides getting quality scoring chances. Forkey had a chance in the opening moments but Leis stuffed him at the goalmouth.
At the 4:30 mark of overtime, Cotnoir found Emmond Bell at blue line. Bell skated in with a defender in front of him and took a shot looking for the top near corner, but Leis got a glove on it to deflect it high.
Plattsburgh outshot Norwich 31-21, but the Cadets held a 6-3 advantage in overtime.
Carroll stopped 29 shots and continued his impressive unbeaten streak. The freshman midseason pickup is now 14-0-2 on the year. Leis made 18 saves for Plattsburgh to finish 17-5-1 on the season.
With the win, the Cadets stretched their unbeaten streak to 14 straight. Their last loss came on Jan. 21 in a 5-2 loss to Wesleyan.