NORTHFIELD, Vt. -- Norwich team beat Middlebury 3-2 on Wednesday in non-conference action at Kreitzberg Arena, avenging a 3-2 overtime loss to the Panthers in last year's NCAA tournament quarterfinals.
Junior forward Madyson Moore scored her 11th goal of the season just 1:03 into the third period, which proved to be the game-winning goal in the battle between two top-five ranked teams in the nation.
Fourth-ranked Norwich (22-3-0, 16-0-0) stretched its winning streak to 13 consecutive games with the victory and now heads into the ECAC East Tournament as the top seed.
Senior defenseman Marie-Philip Guay set up the game-winning goal by keeping a puck in at the blue line. She found Moore all alone in front of the net and fed a pass to her. Moore took care of the rest beating Middlebury goalie Annabelle Jones glove side to put Norwich up 3-1 just 1:03 into the third period.
No. 2 Middlebury (17-3-4, 12-0-4 NESCAC) answered right back 24 seconds later though as Julia Wardwell blasted a shot from the top of the left faceoff circle that found its way through traffic and past NU junior goalie Taylor Fairchild. Sara Ugalde and Pam Schulman picked up assists on the goal for the Panthers which cut the deficit back down to 3-2.
Norwich opened the scoring just 1:46 into the game when senior forward Haley Gibson tipped an initial shot by Taylor Cross past Jones to the bottom left corner of the net to put the Cadets up 1-0. Senior forward Tori Charron also picked up an assist on Gibson's fourth goal of the year.
Norwich then couldn't stay out of the penalty box for the rest of the first period as the Cadets were whistled for four consecutive minor penalties. Middlebury finally cashed in on the fourth opportunity at the 18:17 mark of the first when Emily Fluke shoved in a loose puck in the crease off a scramble in front of the net to knot the game back up at 1-1.
Victoria Laven rifled a shot in from the blue line that was initially saved by Fairchild, however she couldn't control the rebound and Joyce got a whack at it before Fluke finally found the handle on it and pushed it under a diving Fairchild.
Norwich completely dominated the play and possession in the second period, outshooting Middlebury 21-2. For 19:56 Jones and the Panther defense withstood the storm.
However, with just four seconds left, Champagne finally cracked the armor by poking home a loose puck in the crease after Jones made two excellent saves on NU senior forward Emily MacKinnon. Junior forward Kaycie Anderson also picked up the secondary assist with the initial shot that started the play.
Middlebury pulled Jones with just a minute left in frantic search of the equalizer. Both teams used timeouts with 54 seconds remaining in the game. Senior defenseman Brittany Sharman did yeoman's work along the boards, tying up the puck for 15 seconds in the final minute while four Middlebury players frantically tried to jam the puck free.
Fairchild finished with 18 saves to pick up her 10th victory of the season and improve to 10-2-0 on the year. Norwich handed Jones her first loss of the season, dropping the junior goalie to 12-1-4 despite her making a season-high 42 saves.