Men’s hockey loses in NCAA semifinals

The Norwich University men’s ice hockey team ended the season with a tough loss to Oswego State in the semi-finals of the NCAA tournament on March 15th.

“It was a really close back and forth game for two periods and most of the third,” said Chris Czarnota, 20, a junior business major from Wakefield, Mass.

Before heading into the game, Norwich had beaten a tough Babson team in the quarterfinals by a score of 4-0, giving the team momentum heading out to Lake Placid, N.Y.

“We came out playing the game really hard and scored on the first shift to go up 1-0,” said Gerard McEleney, 20, a sophomore computer science major from Canton, Mass.

“We controlled the tempo of the game right from the start,” Czarnota said. “But they bounced back after the first goal and scored two shifts later to tie it up.”

Norwich takes a shot on goal against Oswego State in the NCAA semifinals. (Norwich Athletics Photo)

Norwich takes a shot on goal against Oswego State in the NCAA semifinals. (Norwich Athletics Photo)

The cadets went into the locker room after the first period staying positive and making sure they would come out in the second period looking to score the next goal, McEleney explained.

“As we headed out into the second period, we were more confident as a team and we played much better than we had in the first period,” said Kyle Thomas, 22, a senior criminal justice major from Watlham, Mass.

The cadets controlled most of the play throughout the second period as Thomas, the senior assistant captain, blew by an Oswego defenseman, putting the puck between the goalie’s legs on a breakaway to put the team up by one.

“We regained the lead and had all the momentum,” Thomas said. “Then only seconds later, Oswego marched down and scored right away.”

Norwich had answered first, two times in a row, and whenever they did, Oswego always had a rebuttal to tie it up, Czarnota said.

“After being tied after two periods, everyone was still confident about our play,” McEleney said. “We got back to the locker room and re-focused to get ready for the third.

The cadets were motivated to get the next goal again as they only had 20  minutes of the game left to play, Thomas explained.

“We came out hard and strong like we had the rest of the game,” Thomas said. “Then Oswego got a lucky bounce and capitalized on it.”

Oswego came out flying in its next shift and scored three goals in the matter of six minutes to go ahead 5-2, according to Czarnota.

“They were a big and strong team,” Czarnota said. “After they scored their third goal to go ahead, they carried the momentum for the rest of the game.”

Norwich stood tall, and didn’t go down without putting up a fight as they marched back scoring one more goal and hitting the post, but time ran out before they could catch up, according to McEleney.

Norwich ended its season losing to Oswego by a final score of 6-3, but had a final record of 24-4-1.

“We had a really great season,” Czarnota said. “We were very consistent the whole year and it was a successful season.”

“We put up a really good fight in our last game,” McEleney said. “Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose, but our record says a lot about how our season went.”

Looking toward next year, Norwich will lose five of their seniors from these past seasons that all played a major role in the team’s success.

“Losing our five seniors for next year will hurt a lot,” McEleney said. “But we have a good core group of guys, and we will bounce back in stride to another successful season.”

“We will miss our seniors a lot,” Czarnota said. “They are a great group of guys, and all of them are great hockey players.

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