NORTHFIELD — The Norwich University men’s ice hockey team locked up with Endicott College for the third straight time Saturday in the ninth annual Northfield Savings Bank Holiday Tournament title game at Kreitzberg Arena.
After skating to a 3-3 draw through regulation and a five-minute overtime, No. 13 Endicott prevailed 1-0 in the shootout to claim the title. Gulls standout Tommy Besinger scored the game-winner in the shootout. He was named the tourney MVP after scoring a goal in Endicott’s 4-3 win over Buffalo State on Friday. He also tallied an assist in Saturday’s championship.
All three meetings between Norwich (7-4-2) and Endicott (9-3-2) in men’s hockey have ended in a 3-3 tie. The two teams skated to draws in each team’s season opener on Oct. 27. They also tied 3-3 to start the 2016-17 season at Kreitzberg Arena.
After a scoreless first period, Norwich pulled ahead when sophomore Carter Cowlthorp tipped home a shot from the point by Jordan Hall on the power play at the 8:09 mark of the second period. Felix Brassard notched the second assist.
Just 2:40 later, sophomore Kale Kane scored an unassisted goal with a nice move in the neutral zone. He used a toe-drag move around an Endicott defender and causes his opponent to stumble. Kane skated in 1-on-1 with another Endicott defender and used him as a screen before ripping a shot under the crossbar to make it 2-0.
Endicott answered at the 14:08 mark of the second period when Carter Horwitz fired a wrist shot just over the shoulder of NU junior goalie Tom Aubrun and inside the right post for his sixth goal of the season. James Winkler and Besinger notched assists.
Endicott tied the game at 2 at the 3:08 mark of the third period, with Jack Kilty scoring off a set play on a faceoff off assists from Ricky Carballo and Jake Simons. Simons won the faceoff back to Carballo, who was standing right behind him at the top of the faceoff circle. Carballo immediately slid the puck down to Kilty, who was crashing the net on the left side to tap the puck behind Aubrun for the goal.
Norwich regained the lead 13 seconds later, with Taeron Lewis blasting a slap shot from the top of the right faceoff circle off the inside of the left post. Scott Swanson assisted for the Cadets, giving his team a 3-2 advantage.
The lead was short-lived, as Endicott tied the game at the 4:11 mark of the third period. Daniel Kucerovy found the back of the net off assists from Ross Olsson and Josh Bowes.
Besinger was the only player to solve the two goaltenders with the goal in the third round of the shootout. Brassard, Brett Ouderkirk and Coby Downs were all denied by Endicott goalie Conor O’Brien. Aubrun made one save against Olsson and then Kucerovy missed high for the Gulls. Besinger skated in and made a cutback move in front of Aubrun after deking to his backhand. He then slid the puck back to his forehand while coming to a stop in front of Aubrun and tucking it behind the left pad.
Endicott outshot Norwich 29-26. Aubrun made 26 saves for the Cadets, while O’Brien stopped 23 shots. Both goaltenders earned spots on the All-Tournament team. Lewis and Cowlthorp also earned all-tournament honors for Norwich, while Endicott’s Horwitz and Buffalo State’s Jon Colley also were named to the team.
Norwich will travel to play Hobart at 7 p.m. Friday.