NORTHFIELD, Vt.—Junior Dean Niezgoda (Brewster, Mass.) tied the game at 19:55 of the third period, and sophomore William Pelletier (St. Jean Chrysostome, Quebec) scored with 33 seconds left in overtime as No. 2 Norwich University rallied to stun No. 3 Babson College, 3-2, in Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) East men's ice hockey action on Saturday afternoon at Kreitzberg Arena.
With the victory, Norwich moves to 13-1-1 overall and maintains sole possession of first place in the ECAC East at 9-0-0, while Babson drops to 12-2-1 overall and 7-1-0 in league play.
Pelletier finished with a goal and two assists for three points for the Cadets, who remained unbeaten at home. Sophomore Paul Russell (Andover, Mass.) had a goal and seniors Bryce Currier (Essex Junction, Vt.) and Corey Hale (Montreal, Quebec) each chipped in with an assist in the win.
Junior Mike Vollmin (Wilmington, N.C.) and first-year Ryan Gouveia (Dartmouth, Mass.) each scored for the Beavers, while sophomore Michael Phillips (Richmond Heights, Ohio) added an assist. Junior goaltender Jamie Murray (Scituate, Mass.) finished with 46 saves, one short of his career high set last February against Norwich, in the loss.
After trailing by a goal for nearly 30 minutes, the Cadets forced the extra period when Niezgoda redirected a shot by first-year Alec Bradrup (Rochester, Minn.) past Murray with just 5.5 seconds left in regulation. Murray denied Pelletier from the slot just 20 seconds into overtime, but could do nothing on his game-winner just over four minutes later as he headed home a deflected slapshot by Currier at the edge of the crease.
Norwich came out flying for the second night in a row, outshooting the Beavers 10-1 over the opening 10 minutes and 14-7 in the first period. Russell slipped a puck past Murray on his backhand off a rebound for the first goal of the game at the 5:29 mark for a 1-0 lead.
The Green and White rallied though, scoring a pair of 4-on-4 goals in the span of 37 seconds early in the second period to take a 2-1 lead. Gouveia pounced on a loose puck following a Cadets giveaway in their own end and beat first-year netminder Braeden Ostepchuk (Lethbridge, Alberta) with a wrist shot for his first career tally at 3:14 to tie the game at 1-1. Vollmin then notched his third of the season at the 3:51 mark with a wrister from the left wing that deflected past Ostepchuk to take the lead.
Norwich outshot the Beavers 15-2 in the third period, but were unable to find the equalizer until adding an extra attacker late in the third period.
Murray (12-2-1) finished with 18 saves in the third period and overtime for the Green and White, while Ostepchuk stopped 17 shots on the afternoon to earn his seventh win of the year for the Cadets, who held a 49-19 edge in shots on goal.
Both teams return to action on Friday at 7 p.m. as Babson hosts New England College, while Norwich travels to Saint Michael's.
GAME NOTES: The Beavers are now 22-35-6 all-time against the Cadets with six of the last eight games having been decided by one goal or less…the loss was the first for Babson this season when leading after two periods, and snapped an unbeaten streak of 58 games when leading after two periods going back to the 2011-12 campaign…Babson is now 1-2-1 on the year in games decided by one goal or less, and are also 1-2-1 when giving up the first goal this season.