MARSHFIELD, Mass. – Number one seed Norwich University claimed their 12th New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) title after defeating two seed New England College 4-1 on Saturday night. With the win the Cadets receive automatic-qualification to the NCAA Division III men's ice hockey championship.
Kevin Salvucci (Plymouth, Mass.) notched the third goal of the game and his fourth of the NEHC Tournament to claim Most Valuable Player honors.
Norwich started the scoring in the first period as Alec Brandrup (Rochester, Minn.) took a cross ice pass from William Pelletier (St. Jean Chrysostome, Que.) and beat Brett Kilar (Coto de Caza, Calif.) top shelf to take the 1-0 lead.
The lead hold not hold long as NEC's Mike Whitehair (Victor, N.Y.) sent home a loose puck in front of the net to tie the game at 1 with just under six minutes to play in the first.
The second period saw a lot of back and forth action with each team having opportunities to take the lead. However, both goaltenders had different plans and put on a show for the Kreitzberg crowd. Kilar posted 21 saves through two periods while Norwich's Ty Reichenbach (Billings, Mont.) posted 16 saves in the first two frames.
With time winding down in the second period the Cadets would score again. This time it was Nick Pichette (Massena, N.Y.) who beat Kilar high, popping the water bottle off the top of the net in the process, to give Norwich the 2-1 lead which they would never relinquish.
Salvucci netted the third goal of the game for Norwich as he sent home a loose puck, picking up the rebound off an initial Kilar save for his 18th goal on the season. NEC would pull Kilar in favor of the extra skater but Todd Jackson (Holy Springs, N.C.) sealed the game, tallying an empty net goal to end the game 4-1 and send Norwich to their seventh NCAA tournament appearance in the last eight seasons.
Salvucci was joined on the All-Tournament team by teammates Pelletier, Brandrup and Reichenbach. Whitehair and Kilar represented the Pilgrims.
The Cadets will learn their matchup for the NCAA Tournament on Monday at 10:30am during the Division III men's ice hockey selection show.
2017 NEHC All-Tournament Team
Forward Kevin Salvucci, Norwich University
Forward William Pelletier, Norwich University
Forward Mike Whitehair, New England College
Defense Alec Brandrup, Norwich University
Goaltender Ty Reichenbach, Norwich University
Goaltender Brett Kilar, New England College
Most Valuable Player: Kevin Salvucci, Norwich University