Courtesy of the University of New England Sports Information Department.
NORTHFIELD, Vt. – Felix Brassard (St. Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec) scored 2:46 into overtime to advance Norwich University through the quarterfinal round of the 2019 NCAA Division III Men's Ice Hockey Championship with a 2-1 decision against the University of New England on Saturday night (Mar. 16) at Kreitzberg Arena.
Brassard wrestled the puck away behind the UNE net and scored to the top corner for the game-winner. The Cadets (22-4-3), who haven't lost since before the new year (18 games), move on to play SUNY Geneseo in the Frozen Four on Friday.
The Nor'easters finish the season with their best record in program history at 21-7-2, following up the first Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) title and second consecutive appearance in the NCAA field. The squad became the first in University history to reach the final eight remaining in an NCAA tournament.
UNE drew first blood at the 4:07 mark of the opening period when Brendan Donohue (New Hope, Pa.) slotted a back-handed shot past Norwich goaltender Tom Aubrun (Chamonix, France). Brett Mecrones (Medford, Mass.) and Liam Neuman (Newmarket, Ontario) assisted on the score. Nearly 10 minutes later, Coby Downs (Montclair, Calif.) tucked in a rebound to tie the game for the hosts.
Norwich controlled play through most of the second period, outshooting the Nor'easters 13-4. Downs almost put the Cadets in front, but his blast in the closing seconds ricocheted off the post. Neither side was able to break through in the third period, with UNE holding a narrow 13-11 edge in shots.
Aubrun backstopped the result with 27 saves. Ben Churchfield (Newcastle, England) turned away 39 for the Nor'easters.
Norwich was the first opponent all season to not allow UNE a chance on the power-play.
The outcome brings a close to the career of the all-time leading scorer in Nor'easters history, Brady Fleurent (Biddeford, Maine), who winds up with 60 goals and 121 assists for 181 points. Along with classmates Tucker Ross (Ashburn, Va.) (28 goals, 31 assists) and Andrew Slotnick (Canterbury, Conn.) (13 goals, 23 assists), the graduating group saw the program through its first four winning seasons.
2019 NCAA Division III Men's Ice Hockey Tournament Schedule
First Round – Saturday, March 9
No. 11/12 University of New England def. No. 6/8 Trinity, 2-1 | BOX
Quarterfinals – Saturday, March 16
No. 3/4 Norwich def. No. 11/12 University of New England, 2-1 (OT) | BOX
ABOUT THE COMMONWEALTH COAST CONFERENCE
The Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC), founded in 1984, is an NCAA Division III athletic conference comprised of nine full member and one associate member institutions throughout the New England region. Its membership aims to provide student-athletes with a positive experience in their pursuit of excellence through high academic standards, quality competition, and a meaningful student life. The conference administers championships in 18 intercollegiate sports.