Norwich's McGovern ices double overtime thriller

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Compiled by D3hockey.com staff --

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. -- Middlebury and Norwich boast one of the best rivalries in Division III college hockey and Saturday's NCAA quarterfinal merely helped solidify that reputation as not one, but two overtimes were required to settle it.

And settled it was as after twice coming back from two-goal deficits, Norwich took its first and only lead of the game 2:28 into the second overtime when Sophie McGovern took a wraparound pass from Bryn Labbe and slid it past Middlebury goaltender Julia Neuberger to give Norwich a 5-4 win.

"Somehow, we just fought back and didn't want to be passive," said Norwich head coach Mark Bolding. "Our team wanted to go and the leadership we have just took over. To come back from two separate two-goal deficits is probably lucky, but it's also a credit to our kids and their work ethic."

The win sends Norwich (23-5-1) to its sixth Frozen Four and first since 2015, where awaiting in the semifinals is top-ranked Plattsburgh State, which was a 4-2 quarterfinal winner over St. Thomas.

Middlebury (19-7-2) opened the game strong as it jumped out to a 1-0 lead just 3:13 into the first period thanks to a goal by Kelly Sherman, and then Maddie Winslow extended the Panthers' lead to 2-0 at the 6:39 mark of the second after sustained forecheck pressure by Middlebury forced a Norwich turnover.

The lead didn't last long, however, as Sarah Schwenzfeier and McGovern tallied at 10:05 and 10:44 of the period, respectively, for Norwich and it was brand new game at 2-2.

Anna Zumwinkle put Middlebury back up, 3-2, with a wrister from out near the blue line with 41 seconds remaining in the period, and Rachel St. Clair scored at the 2:07 mark of the third period and the Panthers were once again ahead by two.

However, Norwich again stormed back with a pair of goals in quick succession as Kim Tibieri scored on the power play at the 16:21 mark, while just 45 seconds later Adelle Murphy converted to re-tie the game.

In overtime, Middlebury nearly won the game early on when, on a power play in the opening minutes of the first overtime, Sidney Portner had a great backdoor look but was robbed by Norwich goaltender Laurie King. From there the sides traded jabs until, finally, McGovern was able to break through with the knock out blow.

At a time of 82:28 the game went in the books as the longest in Norwich program history. King finished with 41 saves to get the win for the Cadets, while Schweizer and Tiberi both tallied an assist to go with their goals.

Julia Neuberger finished the afternoon with 29 saves for Middlebury.

 

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