Men's ice hockey matches No. 2 Norwich into third period of setback

SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. - Before a sellout crowd, the Saint Michael's College men's ice hockey team turned in one of the best efforts in its modern era against No. 2 Norwich University on Friday, leading the Cadets late in the second period before falling, 5-2, at Cairns Arena. The Purple Knights slipped to 4-11 overall and 1-9 in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) East, while the Cadets are 14-2 and 9-1. Norwich is ranked second in this week's U.S. College Hockey Online (USCHO) Division III national poll.

The Purple and Gold, winless against the Cadets since its modern era began in 1982-83, stood tied more than seven minutes into the third period and did not yield the winner until a little more than seven minutes remained. Sophomore Dave Donzanti (West Chester, Pa./Northfield Mount Hermon) made 30 saves, while senior Rich Rodeschini (Katonah, N.Y./Canterbury School) and first-year Kevin Altidor (Montreal, Quebec/Millbrook School) scored for the hosts.

Senior Tory Allan (Davidson, Saskatchewan/Humboldt Broncos) scored twice for Norwich, while classmate Blake Forkey (Boca Raton, Fla./Avon Old Farms) and first-years Erik Lyrvall (Falun, Sweden/Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights) and Ben Morgan (Calgary, Alberta/Notre Dame Hounds) also tallied. Junior Chris Czarnota (Wakefield, Mass./Wakefield) made 22 saves.

In a 2-2 game nearly midway through the third, senior Kyle Thomas (Waltham, Mass./South Shore Kings) was stopped out front by Donzanti, but Forkey slipped in a shot at 7:08 for the winner. Lyrvall's slapper from the blue line made it 4-2 at 12:48 before Purple Knight senior Colby MacDonald (Byfield, Mass./Valley Jr. Warriors) had a bid to close the gap ring the crossbar with 1:50 to go. Allan added an empty netter 33 seconds later.

Donzanti kept the Purple Knights close with 11 first-period saves. In the first minute, with Donzanti sliding toward the far post, junior Chris Duszynski (Okotoks, Alberta/Okotoks Oilers) was denied when the goalie reached back with his glove hand and blindly plucked away the puck at the goal line. Morgan netted the period's lone tally after 3:40, jamming in a loose puck on the doorstep.

The Purple Knights charged ahead in the second period, when they held a 9-6 shots edge, with a pair of tallies in 2:29. During a 5-on-3 power play, junior Ryan Arsenault (Reading, Mass./New Hampton School) slipped a pass into the slot, where Altidor went five-hole at 5:51. In a 50-second stretch later in the stanza, MacDonald and first-year Brodie McCusker (Canaan, N.H./Saint Paul's School) both hit the post, but on McCusker's, Rodeschini crashed the open net and made it 2-1 at 8:20. However, at the 15-minute mark, Allan picked the upper left-hand corner to knot the game, which is where the teams stood for the second intermission.

The Purple Knights break from league play to host No. 9 Amherst College tomorrow at 4 p.m., continuing a stretch of four straight home contests against teams either nationally ranked or receiving national votes. The Lord Jeffs are receiving their ranking from and joined Norwich in last year's Division III Final Four.