After another stellar season, the NU women’s hockey team brings home their second national championship.
BY DERREK DUNNING
The Norwich Record | Summer 2018
The 2017–18 Norwich University women’s ice hockey season will go down as one of the most historic in their 17-year history of NCAA Division III competition.
The Cadets compiled a 27-1-3 record en route to winning their second national championship and first since 2011. NU defeated Elmira College 2-1 in front of 1,242 fans at Kreitzberg Arena on March 17, capping their perfect playoff season. It was the largest crowd for a women’s hockey game in program history.
Sophie McGovern ’20 scored the game-winning goal with 1:33 left in regulation time, lifting the Cadets to victory. The late score would help land McGovern in the pages of Sports Illustrated. (See “Faces in the Crowd” in the April 8 issue.)
Her goal also clinched the second national championship for the university in as many years, following the men’s hockey team’s national title win last year.
As for this year’s standout women’s hockey team, their only loss of the sea- son came at the hands of four-time defending national champions Plattsburgh State in January at the East-West Hockey Classic. While the Cadets lost 3-2 in that home game, they had already broken the Cardinals’ spell earlier in the season. In November, they beat Plattsburgh State on their own ice to end a 13-game winless streak against the Cardinals. Arguably, it marked the biggest turning point of the Cadets’ season.
And what a season it was.
In just their 11th year as a varsity team, Norwich has won eight New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) Tournament titles and made nine NCAA Tournament appearances, reaching the NCAA Division III Frozen Four on seven occasions.
This season, NU women’s ice hockey players were the NCAA Division III national statistical champs in four team categories and two individual categories. The Cadets led the nation in goals per game (5.61), scoring margin (4.48), power play percentage (31.5 percent), and winning percentage (.919). Amanda Conway ’20 led the nation in points per game (1.90) and Laurie King ’18 had the highest winning percentage (.904) by a goalie.
Conway, Kim Tiberi ’18, and Robyn Foley ’19 were each named American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) East Region All-Americans, bringing Norwich’s all-time total to 17 All-Americans.
Head coach Mark Bolding ’95 earned his fourth AHCA National Coach of the Year award, the first after winning three straight from 2010 to 2012. He has now guided the Cadets to a 245-62-20 career record over 11 seasons and ranks sixth all-time in NCAA Division III women’s hockey coaching career victories.
“A lot of our young ladies were in Utica last year when the guys won it. They took some of those lessons from the guys, and everyone contributed in their own way to get us to this point this season,” Bolding says.
“We’re a small school with a lot of pride and a lot of hardworking men and women...We’re very fortunate to play here at Norwich University, and we just want to keep it going.”
Celebrating their national championship win, the team visited the Vermont State House to meet with Governor Phil Scott on March 29th. Their victory tour then headed south, with stops at the Massachusetts State House and Fenway Park. In a special pregame ceremony on April 10th before a Red Sox matchup against the Yankees, Conway, King and Bryn Labbe ’18 threw out the first pitch.
It was one more memory to cap unforgettable season.
Photo by Mark Collier