NORTHFIELD, Vt. – The Norwich women's hockey team took the ice on Thursday for the first time since winning the Division III National Championship last March for an exhibition tune-up against the Ontario Hockey Academy.
Even with a few new faces in the lineup, the Cadets didn't miss a beat as they rolled to a 5-0 win over the OHA Mavericks, a junior club team from Canada.
Junior forward Jillayne DeBus (Howell, Mich.) scored two goals and added an assist to lead the Cadets' offense. DeBus and freshman Kaycie Anderson had tremendous chemistry for their first time playing in a game together as Anderson provided the primary assist for both of DeBus' goals. DeBus also set up Anderson for a pretty one-timer that the Maple Plain, Minn. native promptly buried into the back of the net for the Cadets' fifth goal.
After OHA controlled the play for the opening five minutes, Norwich found its legs and started to get the Mavericks back on their heels.
DeBus gave Norwich a 1-0 lead at the 14:24 mark of the first period when she banged home a loose rebound at the far post after OHA starting goaltender Alexane Rodrigue made the initial save on Anderson's shot.
DeBus struck again just under nine minutes into the second period when again she corralled a rebound off a shot from Anderson at the blue line and shoved the puck between Rodrigue's legs to stretch the Cadets' lead to 2-0.
The floodgates opened up in the final five minutes of the period as Norwich added three more goals in quick succession to leave the game's outcome in no doubt heading to the final 20 minutes.
OHA alumnus Renee Lortie made it 4-0 Norwich 2:49 later by finding a loose puck in front and beating OHA goaltender Marie-Soleil Deschenes with assists from Rundlett and Sarianne Lynn for the Cadets' lone power play goal on the night.
Anderson capped the scoring with a textbook one-timer off an assist from DeBus with 14 seconds left in the period.
Norwich outshot OHA 47-11 and was 1-for-5 on the power play. The Cadets didn't take a single penalty while the Mavericks were whistled for five minors.
Norwich sophomore Joanie Plamondon picked up the win by turning away all nine shots she faced in her 40 minutes between the pipes for the Cadets. Fellow sophomore Kelly Fisk made two saves in the third period to preserve the shutout.
The Cadets hit the ice for real next Friday as they open up the regular season by hosting the 2nd annual East/West Hockey Classic. NU will play No. 10 Elmira at 7 p.m. Before the opening faceoff, NU will raise its 2011 national championship banner to the rafters.
Friday's showdown is only one of four great matchups that will take place at Kreitzberg Arena on Friday and Saturday as four of Division III's best teams will converge on Northfield, Vt. to kick off the 2011-12 season.
The star-studded field includes the top two ranked teams in Norwich and Rochester Institute of Technology (R.I.T.), as well as No. 8 Manhattanville and No. 10 Elmira. R.I.T. meets Manhattanville at 4 p.m. on Friday with the Elmira/Norwich game to follow. Saturday's games will pit Manhattanville taking on Elmira at 3 p.m. and then the highly anticipated national championship rematch between R.I.T. and Norwich at 6 p.m.
NOTES: Thursday's exhibition game had a little extra special meaning for four Norwich players. Tyne Gove, Haley Gibson, Renee Lortie, and Kayla Lascelle all played at the Ontario Hockey Academy before coming to Norwich. Lascelle's dad, Giles, runs the Academy and coaches the team.
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