Score: #2/3 Elmira College 4, #1/1 Norwich University 2
Records: Elmira (1-0-0), Norwich (0-1-0)
Location: Murray Athletic Center – Pine Valley, N.Y.
PINE VALLEY, N.Y. -- A three-goal performance by Katie Granato '19 was the difference in Saturday afternoon's NCAA national title rematch, as the No. 2/3-ranked Elmira College women's ice hockey team upset defending national champion No. 1/1-ranked Norwich University, 4-2, at the Murray Athletic Center.
Granato scored once in the opening period and added two additional goals, one of which came on the power play, in the third frame. Maddy Jerolman '19 added Elmira's other goal, while Emma Crocker '21, Kristin Chivers '19, Sydney Harris '21, Meg Lahey '19 and Jerolman were all credited with an assist.
Both teams featured a freshman goalie, as Elmira elected Stephanie Martin '22 for the starting gig and Alexa Berg got the starting nod for the Cadets. Martin finished with 22 saves, including an 11-save third period to collect her first career win. Berg ended with 21 stops, 11 of which were registered in the second stanza.
It was an eventful first period, as both teams found the back of the net twice. Granato opened the game with a tally just 16 seconds into the opening frame on assists from Crocker and Chivers. An outlet pass from Chivers went to Crocker along the boards, where she one-touched it to Granato at center ice. From there, Granato snapped a wrist shot over the glove of Berg for the game-opening score.
Elmira held onto its lead for just over seven minutes until Amanda Conway made her presence felt with a great individual effort to score an unassisted goal at 7:41.
However, the 1-1 tie did not stand for long, as Jerolman put the Purple and Gold back on top with her first goal of the season 27 seconds later. Following a missed shot from the point by Harris, the puck caromed off of the end-boards to Jerolman, who tucked it between Berg's pads and the pipe for the go-ahead score.
With the period coming to a close, Norwich capitalized on a turnover in the EC zone and tied the game at 2-2 with Conway's second tally of the evening. Conway's game-tying goal was assisted by Adrieana Rossini, as the two teams skated into the first intermission deadlocked at 2-2.
Elmira outshot Norwich 11-6 in the second stanza and even went on the power play once, but the Soaring Eagles were unable to find the back of the cage. EC had the best scoring chance of the period with just over three minutes left, as a nice give-and-go play between Granato and Maddie Evangelous '19 set Granato up for a one-time shot just outside the crease. Granato's attempt looked destined for the back of the net, but an outstretch Berg denied her at the doorstep to keep the game knotted at 2-2.
The 2-2 stalemate stood until the 10:38 mark of the third period when Granato cashed in on one of EC's two power-play opportunities of the day. Passes between Shannon Strawinski '19, Jerolman and Lahey shifted the Norwich defense enough for Jerolman to center the puck to Granato, who tipped it in from just outside the crease for the eventual game-winning goal.
Granato put the nail in the coffin 34 seconds later with her third and final goal of the day to complete the hat trick. A loose puck along the boards bounced out to center ice where Granato carried it into the zone and split a pair of Norwich defenders, before putting a shot on goal. Berg made the initial save, but was unable to cover the puck up, which allowed Granato to get to the rebound and slam it home for the final score of the afternoon.
In His Own Words…
Head Coach Tim Crowley talks about Elmira's quick start with a goal on the first shift…
"I don't think you can start a game better than that. It was nice to see that line start out so quick. They're such important pieces to the puzzle for us. The goal relaxed our team a lot to a get a goal on the first shift, so I don't think you can draw it up any better. It was a great breakout, nice play by Emma there on the wall to pass it out from Chivers, and then Granato did the rest."
Coach Crowley talked about the adjustments made throughout the game today…
"I thought as the second period progressed, both teams kind of settled down. We were telling them to get the puck going north and not try to bring it back into their pressure. Norwich is a really fast team, so we wanted to try to keep the puck going north as much as we could. And defensively, I thought we did a really good job. I thought systems-wise we were really good in the last two periods."
Coach Crowley reflects on the three-goal performance by Granato…
"I think it's a testament to what type of player Katie is. She's one of our leaders this year and she stepped up in a big moment in a big game, and that's what we expect out of her the rest of the year. I can't say enough about her. She's one of the most talented players in the country, and I know I'm a little bit biased, but I see her every day, I see what she's capable of doing and she's a good leader and a really good player."
Coach Crowley talks about Martin's performance in goal…
"Steph had a really good start to practice and demonstrated that she deserved that opportunity. That's no slight to Lizzie or Emilia, because both were really good during our first couple weeks of practice, so we are really confident with all three of them, but what a game by Steph. She really settled in after the first period. She seemed nervous at first but really settled in as the game progressed."
Coach Crowley shares his thoughts on where Elmira goes after winning today's game…
"I think it's tough for us to be complacent after the way last year ended, so we want to keep building towards March and that's the goal for us. Today was game one of 25, and we need to continue to get better every week and continue to prepare like we are playing a ranked opponent every weekend and we will be ready for everyone we face."
News and Notes
- Elmira improved to 8-0 in season-opening games played at the MAC.
- Elmira has outscored its opponents in those previous eight wins, 49-2.
- EC collected its first win over a No. 1-ranked team since beating Plattsburgh, 3-2, in the NCAA Semifinals; Plattsburgh was ranked No. 1 in the D3hockey.com poll at the time.
- Elmira held a slim 25-24 lead in shots.
- EC went 1-for-2 on the power play, while Norwich went 0-for-5.
- Granato produced the third hat trick of her collegiate career.
- It marked the second consecutive season an Elmira player has scored a hat trick in a season-opening game.
- The last player to score three goals in a season opener was AHCA First-Team All-American, and UCHC Player of the Year, Sarah Hughson '18.
- Jerolman finished with two points (1g-1a).
- Martin became the first freshman goalie to win in a season-opening game since Lauren Sullivan '13 posted a 3-0 shutout win over Buffalo State on November 6, 2009.
The Elmira women open United Collegiate Hockey Conference (UCHC) action this Friday, November 2, when the Soaring Eagles travel to battle Neumann University. The opening puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m.