Men’s D-III Playoff Preview: Norwich

Tournament Qualification: ECAC East automatic qualifier
NCAA Tournament Profile: 12th NCAA tournament appearance, last appearance — 2010 (championship game win over St. Norbert, 2-1 (2OT),
Best NCAA Finish: Champions — 2000, 2003, 2010
Road to NCAA Championship: win 3-2 (OT), vs. Babson, (ECAC East championship game), win 4-0, vs. Southern Maine, (ECAC East semifinals), win 10-2, vs. University of New England, (ECAC East quarterfinals)

Team Statistics
Overall Record: 20-5-3, 15-1-3 ECAC East (first)
SOG: 37.2 per game
Opponents’ SOG: 20.1 per game
Power Play: 22.8 percent
Penalty Kill: 80.4 percent
Offense: 4.27 goals per game
Defense: 2.13 goals per game

Scoring Leaders
Scott Schroeder, (So.)</b> – 18 goals, 19 assists, 37 points
Travis Janke (Fr.)</b> – 11 goals, 24 assists, 35 points
Pier-Olivier Cotnoir (So.)</b> -18 goals, 16 assists, 34 points
Chad Anderson (Sr.)</b> – 9 goals, 19 assists, 28 points

Parker Carroll (Fr.)</b> – 1.82 goals against average, .929 save percentage

The defending national champion Cadets come into the NCAA tournament with a more challenging road to a second consecutive title, starting with Wednesday’s first round game in Northfield, Vt. Norwich will face the ECAC Northeast champions from Curry College in a first round game that is one more than the team had to play to get to Lake Placid last season.

“Early this season, there was almost a sense that we could show up and we would skate away with a win,” stated coach Mike McShane. “We know we have a target on us every night being the national champs, and it seemed like we got back to our style and hard work in the second half of the season when we faced the most difficult part of our schedule. We have shown a lot of resilience in coming back against teams like Middlebury and Babson, and showed it again on Saturday coming back against Babson again to win the ECAC East title.”

One thing that should concern any opponent facing the Cadets is that they are demonstrating that they are not just a one-line team. Last year, most of the talk centered around then freshmen Blake Forkey, Kyle Thomas and junior Chad Anderson, but this year the arsenal has become a lot more diverse.  Sophomores Scott Schroeder and Pier-Olivier Cotnoir, along with freshman Travis Janke, are the top three point getters for Norwich, while Thomas and Forkey seem to be hitting their stride at the right time of the season.

“We really lost a lot from last year’s team,” said McShane. “We have replaced an All-American goalie and our top three defensemen, along with some key forwards. Sometimes I forget that we are young and not as experienced as last year, but we are playing well right now.”

The Cadets are anchored in goal by freshman Parker Carroll, who arrived at the semester break. Carroll is 12-0-2 in his 14 starts and has impressive numbers, including a .929 save percentage and 1.82 goals-against-average. He has been very effective in making the big saves, and focused on using his size out on his angles challenging the shooters.

“The first you thing you notice is his size,” noted McShane. “That, and the fact he catches with his right hand. He really has come in and done a nice job in the second half. He is very fundamentally sound, being good on his angles and square to the shooter, and seems to always be in the right position to make a save.”

Senior Greg Eskedjian has become the leader among the defensemen, and has really been a big part of Norwich’s stingy defense and explosive offense. His 27 points stands fifth on the team, and his play earned him All-Conference honors in the ECAC East this season. Juniors Owen Carpino and Pasha Koshokin also provide the Cadets with a strong presence on the blue line, and will be key factors in Wednesday’s match-up with Curry.

The Cadets are a formidable team for any opponent, scoring at a four-goal-per-game clip and surrendering just over two goals defensively. The beginning of the season did not necessarily showcase the style of play Norwich can and must play to be a their best, but their 10-0-2 record over their last dozen games, including the conference tournament, has them poised for another run at the title.


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