NORTHFIELD, Vt. – The Norwich women's hockey team kicked off the 2011-12 regular season with a 4-2 win over Elmira College on the first day of the 2nd annual East/West Hockey Classic at Kreitzberg Arena.
Before the start of the game, Norwich (1-0-0, 0-0-0 ECAC East) raised its 2011 National Championship banner to the rafters, and then the Cadets defended their home ice by scoring four power play goals to pull away from the Soaring Eagles in the third period.
Freshman forward Kaycie Anderson started her career in the Maroon & Gold off with a bang as the Maple Plain, Minn. native scored two goals to lead the Cadets' offense. Julie Fortier (Saint Malachie, Que.) and Renee Lortie (Cornwall, Ont.) also tallied goals for NU on the night.
The Cadets opened the scoring a little over five minutes into the first period when Lortie tipped an initial shot from Amanda Wilks (Winnipeg, Man.) at the blue line past Elmira goalie Lauren Sullivan to give Norwich a 1-0 lead.
Anderson tallied the first of her two goals 8:32 later to make it 2-0 when she took a pass from fellow freshman Tyne Gove (Berwick, Ont.) on a 2-on-1 and beat Sullivan high to the blocker side. Junior Jillayne DeBus (Howell, Mich.) also picked up an assist on the play after she made a diving effort to keep the puck in the zone and create the odd-man rush opportunity.
Norwich carried the 2-0 lead into the first intermission and led shots 8-4 after the opening 20 minutes.
Elmira came out blazing to start the second period and had two golden opportunities to cut into the Norwich lead in the first minute. The Soaring Eagles nearly capitalized on an NU turnover in front of the net, but Amber Tirri hit the post after Norwich goaltender Kelly Fisk (Hannibal, N.Y.) poke checked the puck away from Tori Charron.
Ashley Ryan also had a great opportunity for Elmira when she found herself wide open in the high slot, but Fisk came out of the crease to challenge the angle and was able to get a pad on the shot and deflect it wide.
However, Elmira finally did get on the board at the 7:56 mark of the period when Ella Stewart jammed home a loose puck in the crease as she was falling to the ice to cut the deficit to 2-1.
The Soaring Eagles kept their momentum rolling to start the third period and eventually tied up the game after Caitlin Metcalf scored off assists from Tirri and Charron to knot the game up at two.
Norwich was in desperate need of a spark and Elmira gave the Cadets the opportunity they needed when Lauren Campbell was whistled for a cross-checking penalty just past the midway point of the period.
The Cadets capitalized once again as Fortier scored off an assist from Lortie for what would eventually turn out to be the game-winning goal and give NU the last lead it would need at the 12:14 mark of the third.
Anderson capped the scoring for the night less than a minute later when she scored on a backhand off a scrum in front of the net to give Norwich a 4-2 lead.
Fisk picked up the win for Norwich after turning aside 26 shots. Sullivan was saddled with the loss for Elmira after making 21 saves. Norwich was 4-for-5 on the power play while Elmira was 0-for-6.
Second-ranked Rochester Institute of Technology beat No. 8 Manhattanville 6-3 in the first game of the day. Kourtney Kunichika had two goals to lead the Tigers.
Norwich wraps up the East/West Hockey Classic tomorrow night when the Cadets host R.I.T. in a rematch of last year's national championship game, which Norwich won 5-2 in Rochester, N.Y. Face-off for the highly anticipated showdown between the nation's top two ranked teams is set for 6 p.m. at Kreitzberg Arena. Elmira will take on Manhattanville in the early game at 3 p.m.
For all the latest Norwich Athletics news go to www.norwichathletics.com, become a fan on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#!/NUCadets, visit our YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/madkins11100, or follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NorwichCadets
Julie Fortier (7) scores the eventual game-winning goal and puts Norwich up 3-2 in the third period of Saturday's game against Elmira in the 2nd annual East/West Hockey Classic. (Jennifer Langille/Norwich University)