NORTHFIELD, Vt.—Sophomore Nick Rosa (Birmingham, Mich.) and first-year Ryan Black (Pomfret, Conn.) both recorded a goal and an assist but it wasn't enough as No. 12 USCHO.com/No. 13 D3hockey.com Babson College suffered a 5-3 loss at fourth-ranked Norwich University in a New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) Tournament semifinal on Saturday night at Kreitzberg Arena.
The third-seeded Beavers likely see their season come to a close at 17-7-3, while Norwich (20-4-3) extends its unbeaten streak to 16 games and advances to the conference title game for the ninth time in 10 seasons.
First-year Matt Wiesner (Newport Beach, Calif.) had a goal and classmates Jack Nisbet (Scituate, Mass.) and Mike Egan (Billerica, Mass.) both contributed an assist for the Beavers. Senior goaltender Bryan Botcher (Mequon, Wis.) stopped 28 shots in the loss.
Juniors Taeron Lewis (Winnipeg, Manitoba) and Jordan Hall (Anchorage, Alaska), sophomore Scott Swanson (Wheaton, Ill.) and first-years Gabriel Chicoine (St. Dominique, Quebec) and Brett Ouderkirk (Monkland, Ontario) all had a goal for the Cadets. Junior Matt Burchill (Mansfield, Mass.) and first-year Maxime Borduas (St. Cesaire, Quebec) both recorded two assists, while junior Tom Aubrun (Chamonix, France) made 28 saves in the victory.
Norwich opened the scoring just 1:31 into the contest when Lewis drove the net on a breakout and finished off a feed from Ouderkirk for his seventh tally of the year. Black tied the game at 5:06 with his wrist shot from the left circle following a face-off win by Rosa, but the hosts regained the lead at the 11:34 mark when Swanson beat Botcher from the high slot.
The Beavers pulled even for the second time in the period on Wiesner's team-leading 15th goal at 16:33. Nisbet drove the net from the right corner and had his backhand shot stopped, but Wiesner cleaned up the rebound to make it 2-2. The Cadets struck back with 29 seconds left in the period on Ouderkirk's tally to take its third one-goal lead of the night into the intermission.
Botcher made 11 second-period saves to keep the deficit at one, but Chicoine scored with a blast from the left point to extended Norwich's lead to 4-2 6:04 into the third. Aubrun made six saves and senior Stevie DeForge (Norwood, Mass.) hit the crossbar during a three-minute stretch midway through the stanza, but the pressure finally paid off when Rosa put away Egan's feed for a power play goal at the 14:22 mark to get within 4-3.
The Green and White was held without a shot on goal after pulling within one, and 15 seconds after pulling Botcher for an extra skater Hall intercepted a clearing pass and scored from center ice for the final margin.
Norwich will host fourth-seeded Hobart in the NEHC Tournament final next Saturday.
• The Beavers are now 25-43-7 all-time against Norwich, which includes a 6-8 mark in the conference playoffs.
• With two points on Saturday, Rosa became the first Babson player to reach the 30-point mark since Terry Woods '11 back in 2010.
• Egan's 27 points are the most by a Babson rookie since Lou Eyester put up 28 during the 2003-04 campaign.
• Saturday's loss marks just the third time in 18 games this winter that the Beavers failed to win when scoring at least three goals.