D-III East weekend wrap Nov. 25: Norwich captures Primelink

Kurt Gutting of Southern New Hampshire (Jim Stankiewicz/SNHU Athletics)
Kurt Gutting of Southern New Hampshire stopped 54 shots as the Penmen upset UMass-Boston. (Jim Stankiewicz/SNHU Athletics)

This weekend saw tournament action aplenty, and while many favorites won some early-season hardware, so too were there some upsets, including Southern New Hampshire taking Massachusetts-Boston from the ranks of the unbeaten. There was some great nonconference action as well, as Geneseo flourished in a pair of wins over NESCAC teams. Most teams have definitely settled into the routine of the season and now seem to be focused on results and finishing the first half strong.

Tournament winners this weekend included Brockport, Colby, Fredonia, Fitchburg State, Norwich, and Salve Regina.

Salve Regina won the Skidmore Thanksgiving Invitational by downing Bryn Athyn and Skidmore. In Sunday’s championship game, Vincenzo Renda scored twice to give the Seahawks a 2-0 lead early in the second period. The Thoroughbreds rallied back behind a pair of goals from Matt Muzyka to tie the game early in the third period before Danny Eruzione scored at the seven-minute mark to give the visitors a lead for the 3-2 win. Goaltender Blake Wojtala outdueled Skidmore’s Brandon Kasel with 33 saves in the win that moved Salve Regina to 6-1-1 on the season.

In nonconference action, Endicott downed their North Shore rivals from Salem State, 7-1, on Sunday behind two goals from Daniel Kucerovy and three points from Josh Bowes.

After dropping a very competitive game to Salve Regina in the opening round of the Skidmore Thanksgiving Invitational on Saturday, Bryn Athyn rebounded with a solid 4-1 win over Post in the consolation game on Sunday. Sheldon Brett and Vojtech Luza got the Lions off to a quick 2-0 lead in the first period, and Dakota Ulmer extended the advantage with a short-handed goal in the second period for a 3-1 lead. Eric Higgins closed the scoring with an empty-net goal, and Mackenzie Chalmers made 25 saves in the 4-1 win.

Fitchburg State hoisted some hardware over the weekend, winning the Steve Hoar Invitational with wins over Becker and Franklin Pierce. Saturday’s first-round game with the Hawks was a close 3-2 contest until the final three minutes of the third period when Joshua Suboyu scored short-handed into the empty-net and teammate Kyle Hillick added an empty-net goal for a more comfortable 5-2 final score. In the championship game against the Ravens, the Falcons offense finally flew, scoring nine goals in a 9-1 rout. Kevin Perry recorded a hat trick, while Sascha Figi and Nick DiNicola each picked up three points on a goal and two assists in the win.

Southern New Hampshire hosted the Manchester PAL/Stovepipe Tournament and pulled the upset of the weekend behind the stellar goaltending of Kurt Gutting. The Penmen pulled Massachusetts-Boston from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 2-1 win featuring 54 saves from Gutting. Chris Moquin and Charlie Davis scored in the second period, providing all the offense Gutting would need, and the Penmen held on for the 2-1 win. Gutting made 22 of his 54 saves in the final period, where only Nolan Redler was able to solve the Penmen netminder. In the final, the Penmen finished regulation and overtime in a 2-2 tie with Fredonia. The championship was decided in a shootout, with Jasper Korican-Barlay finally solving Gutting in the fifth round for the Fredonia win.

Norwich clearly got some benefit of a weekend off prior to their hosting the Primelink Great Northern Shootout this year. On Friday, the Cadets knocked off No. 2 Adrian, 3-2, in a great first-round game. Brian Yim from Adrian and Norwich’s Brett Ouderkirk exchanged goals twice before Felix Brassard scored the game-winner on a power play with less than three minutes remaining in regulation. Tom Aubrun was sharp in goal, making 26 saves for the Cadets, who were outshot by the Bulldogs, 28-19. In the championship game, Norwich faced a familiar rival and surrendered a goal in the first minute to Middlebury. Ouderkirk answered for the Cadets, and four other Norwich players tallied in a 5-1 win over the Panthers. Norwich finished 4-for-11 on the power play, and goaltender Adam Mercer made 21 saves to pick up his first win of the season.

Colby won the Bowdoin/Colby Face-off at Bowdoin with a win over Potsdam and a tie with Wentworth. The Mules needed overtime to down the Bears, with Nick O’Connor scoring in the extra session for a 4-3 win after Colby rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the third period behind goals from O’Connor and Mike Morrissey to tie the game at three. On Sunday, the Mules again had to rally back against Wentworth, with Thomas Stahlhuth’s second-period goal leveling the game at one. Nothing was settled in overtime, and the teams settled for the tie.

Williams went out of conference against two nationally ranked teams and earned a weekend split with Babson and Geneseo. On Saturday, the Ephs dropped Babson from the ranks of the unbeaten with a hard-fought 3-2 win. Jack McCool’s power-play goal in the second period proved to be the game-winner, and Michael Pinios stopped 20 shots in picking up his third win of the season. On Sunday, Geneseo built a 3-0 lead before Williams’ Marcus Mollica broke up Devin MacDonald’s shutout bid in a 3-1 Knights win.

Brockport has quietly moved to 7-1-1 on the season and this weekend captured the WSYB/Catamount Radio Invitational championship game over the hosts from Castleton. After downing Anna Maria in the first round, 5-1, the Golden Eagles used goals from Doc Gentzler, Mitchell Parsons, and Hunter Laslo to pick up the 3-0 win. Goaltender Jake Moore stopped all 26 shots in recording the shutout.

Utica traveled west to play in the Wisconsin-Stevens Point Holiday Tournament, and while they fell in the final to the nation’s No. 1 team, they showed their mettle in a comeback win over St. Thomas in the first round of the tourney. Trailing 3-1 after two periods of play, the Pioneers scored five unanswered goals in the third period for a 6-3 win. Conor Landrigan, Zach Borsoi, Brett Everson, Regen Cavanaugh, and Devin Warfield all scored in the final 20 minutes to earn the Pioneers a spot in the championship game. On Saturday, the Pointers went 2-for-3 with the man advantage and scored on the empty net to win their tournament, 4-1.

Three Biscuits
Kurt Gutting, Southern New Hampshire: Gutting stopped 54 of 55 shots as the Penmen upset Massachusetts-Boston, 2-1, in the opening round of the Manchester PAL/Stovepipe Tournament hosted by the Penmen.
Jake Moore, Brockport: Moore stopped all 26 shots faced in a 3-0 championship game win over Castleton in the WYSB/Catamount Radio Invitational. The win moved Moore to 5-0-1 on the season, while Brockport improved to 7-1-1.
Brian Ketchabaw, Middlebury: Ketchabaw made 26 saves to support the Panthers in a 3-0 first-round win over Plattsburgh in the Primelink Great Northern Shootout at Norwich.

Hard to believe that December 1 is fast approaching, and so too is the end of a great first half. There’s still some time for teams to get their game on track and finish strong.