Men’s Hockey Thrills with 4-3 Overtime Victory Over Norwich in NCAA Quarterfinals, Advances to NCAA Div. III Frozen Four in Minneapolis
Issue   |   Tue, 03/24/2015 - 22:54

The men’s ice hockey team continued its stellar season this past weekend with a victory over Norwich University that will send them to the Division III Frozen Four this weekend in Minneapolis. The Jeffs will play Wisconsin-Stevens Point for a sport in the national championships. Trinity College and Adrian College will play on the other side of the bracket.

The Jeffs earned home ice with a bye into the first round. The puck dropped this past Saturday at 7 p.m. sharp. With the season on the line and both teams aiming to compete for a national championship, the teams left everything they had on the ice at the end of three periods.

During a physical game, Amherst racked up two penalties in the first with Norwich was sent to the penalty box three times. After killing off a penalty 6:46 minutes in to play, Norwich found the back of the net after Williams Pelletier, one of the country’s assist leaders, dished a nice pass out front to Justin Charbonneau to beat senior goaltender Danny Vitale. The Jeffs responded quickly during a power play, as just two and a half minutes later David White ’18, Amherst’s leading scorer, scored his 19th of the season, with assists from Topher Flanagan ’16 and Mike Rowbotham ’15. Both teams were penalized at the end of the period, so the teams went into the intermission ready to come out four-on-four to start the second.

The ice tilted towards Amherst in the middle frame, as the Jeffs outshot their opponents 11-5 during this 20 minutes, after being outshot 13-7 in the first. Norwich again extended their lead about 12 minutes into the period, but once again Amherst responded just minutes later. Senior Andrew Fenwick scored his ninth goal of the year off a beautiful pass by junior Patrick Arena. Amherst had a number of scoring opportunities, but the team was unable to squeak anything by Ty Reichenbach, who made some admittedly good saves.

The third period was a spectacle to behold. With the game tied for the first 18 minutes, it looked bleak for the purple and white. Norwich was pouring it on, and ended up having 15 more shots in the period than Amherst, but it was Vitale with save after save who gave the Jeffs a shot. With less than two minutes to play, Norwich took the lead. With a score of 3-2, and 1:51 remaining, Amherst needed to dig deep if they wanted to continue their season, which was exactly what they did. With 13 seconds remaining, it was a cornerstone of the defense, not normally known as a sniper, who sent the game into overtime.

Senior Aaron Deutsche, recognized league-wide for his defensive play, found the back of the net from the high slot while the goalie was pulled. After working the offense, it was White to Fenwick to Deutsche, who fired away and tied up the game.

In overtime, it was Rowbotham who scored the game to send the Jeffs back to the Frozen Four with a chance to win a national title. Off an offensive zone faceoff, Rowbotham torched the opposing center and threw the puck out front, where it was misplayed by a Norwich defender and redirected into the net for the game-winning goal. Vitale made an incredible 38 saves and after overcoming three one-goal deficits, the Lord Jeffs showed that they have what it takes to compete for the title of the country’s best Division III ice hockey team.