MARSHFIELD, Mass. – After two rounds of the postseason it will be a showdown between number one and number two as Norwich University hosts New England College in the New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) men's championship game. The winner will receive automatic qualification to the NCAA Division III Ice Hockey National Tournament.
Norwich has won 11 NEHC Tournament titles, the most recent coming in 2015 while the Pilgrims will be aiming for their second title after last winning the championship in 2005.
NEHC Coach of the Year, Mike McShane, boasts a trio of 30-point scorers in William Pelletier (St, Jean Chrysostome, Que.), Kevin Salvucci (Weymouth, Mass.) and Cody Smith (Hudson, Mass.). Pelletier, an NEHC first team all-conference selection, leads the way for the Cadets with 38 points on 16 goals and 22 assists. Fellow all-conference selection, Smith, led the lague in defenseman scoring during the regular season and currently ranks second in the nation in scoring amongst all blueliners. Braeden Ostepchuk (Lethbridge, Alta.) has been perfect between the pipes at 14-0-0, while his .925 save percentage and 1.75 goals against average landed him on the NEHC's second team all-conference.
On the other side of the ice is a potent Pilgrims offense that ranked second in the NEHC in scoring at 4.06 goals per game. NEHC Goaltender of the Year Brett Kilar (Coto de Caza, Calif.) looks to extend his brilliant senior campaign with a trip to the NCAA tournament. His five shutouts rank second in the country while his .942 save percentage ranks fifth. Offensively NEC will look to Carlos Fornaris (Miami, Fla.) to continue his impressive freshman campaign. His 29 points leads the Pilgrims while NEHC second team selection, Andreas Zöllner (Varnamo, Sweden) ranks second on the team with 27 points. Mike Whitehair (Victor, N.Y.) provided the offensive magic last weekend as his overtime game-winner punched NEC's ticket to the championship game.
Saturday, March 4
(#1) Norwich vs. (#2) New England College - 7:00pm
at Kreitzberg Arena on the campus of Norwich University