STEVENS POINT, Wis. — The Norwich University men’s ice hockey team will have a chance to play for its fifth NCAA Division III National Championship on Saturday following Friday’s 4-2 semifinal victory over SUNY Geneseo.
Norwich freshmen Maxime Borduas and Brett Ouderkirk each had a goal and an assist. Junior goalie Tom Aubrun made 18 saves to lead Norwich to its sixth NCAA Division III National title game appearance.
The Cadets (23-4-3) will face UW-Stevens Point 8 p.m. in the championship. Norwich will play in the final for the second time in the last three seasons.
After a scoreless first period, Norwich opened the scoring at 6:30 of the second period with a power-play goal by Ouderkirk off assists from Felix Brassard and Borduas. Brassard took an initial shot that was kicked away by goaltender Devin McDonald. Brassard collected his rebound and slid the puck to Borduas, who then made a sly no-look backhand pass to Ouderkirk cutting in from the left face-off circle, who buried it five-hole past McDonald for his 15th goal of the season.
The Cadets added to the lead at the 13:45 mark of the second period with Coby Downs scoring on the doorstep of the crease off assists from Scott Swanson and TJ Dockery. Dockery fed a pass to Swanson in the middle of the slot and then Swanson found Downs alone on the back door. McDonald made the initial save with his left pad but Downs fired home the rebound to make it 2-0 with his seventh goal of the season. Norwich carried the 2-0 lead into the second intermission, leading shots on goal in the middle stanza 10-7.
The Cadets increased the lead to 3-0 at the 4:17 mark of the third period, with Borduas scoring what proved to be the game-winning goal on the power play for his eighth goal of the season. Ouderkirk picked up the assist with a cross-ice pass from the half boards to find Borduas cutting through the high slot for the goal. Borduas scored with a defender draped all over him to give Norwich a comfortable three-goal lead.
Geneseo (25-2-2) showed why it boasts the nation’s highest-scoring offense by finally sending a shot past Aubrun at the 5:59 mark of the third period. Henry Cleghorn skated toward the net and notched the goal off assists from Tyson Empey and Ryan Burnett.
Just 1:01 later, Carson Kelley pulled Geneseo to within one goal with a rebound goal off assists from Dan Bosio and Joe Serpico. Kelley was in the right place at the right time, crashing the net and slipping the puck past Aubrun. Norwich tightened up its defense and clamped down for the remainder of the third period to stave off Geneseo’s attempt to find the equalizer.
Senior captain David Robertson put the final dagger in Geneseo with an empty-net goal with 29 seconds left to play. Robertson won a puck battle along the boards and fired the puck high off the glass in his own zone. The puck initially was on target to roll left of the net, but just as it started to lose momentum, it spun back towards the goalmouth and rolled over the goal line. The goal was Robertson’s fourth of the season.
Norwich outshot Geneseo 24-20, marking the first time all season that the Knights were outshot. Norwich improves to 6-7 all-time in NCAA semifinal games and the Cadets will carry a 4-1 record all-time in national championship games into Saturday’s title tilt. Norwich won its four national championships in 2000, 2003, 2010 and 2017.