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Women's hockey plays valiantly at NCAA finals

By Samantha Waggoner
On April 3, 2012

Going back to the NCAA's and ultimately the Frozen Four is really something that you cannot dream up, and for the Norwich women's Ice Hockey team, it was the third year in a row.

"You get there and all of a sudden you're in the spotlight with cameras coming in the locker room and photographers and security all over. We get to stay at a nice hotel with the entire team and have a fancy banquet the night before the Frozen Four games begin," said sophomore goaltender, Kelly Fisk, a 19-year-old biology major form Hannibal, N.Y.

Getting to the National Championships is a remarkable accomplishment, according to senior forward and captain Melissa Rundlett, 22, a physical education major from Saco, Maine.

"This past weekend was one I'll never forget. Even though we did not have the outcome we wanted, going to the frozen four three years in a row has been an amazing experience in itself," Rundlett said.

In the semi-final game against Gustavus Adolphus, senior forward Julie Fortier scored the winning goal in overtime making it a 4-3 on win Friday night. This win secured the rematch with Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) for the second consecutive year. Norwich beat RIT last year 5-2 in the finals to claim its first national championship at the varsity level, according to Rundlett.

"When we were going into overtime of the semifinal game, I can't even describe the feeling because even though us seniors were nervous. We had to hide it and show the team how confident we were that we were going to win," said senior defensemen Amanda Wilks, 22, an athletic training major from Manitoba, Ca.

The ladies confidence and perseverance held true with the semi-final win.

"In our first game against Gustavus Adolphus, we got our nervous energy out and won 4-3 in overtime. Knowing that you're going to the National Championship game makes you want to celebrate but you have to get your emotions in check since it's less than 24 hours after the semi-finals," Fisk said.

St. Patrick 's Day Saturday night at the Frank Ritter Memorial Arena in Rochester, N.Y. wasn't just another women's hockey game but rather the final showdown of the 2012 season where the Norwich women would once again face off with RIT.

"Going into the final we were all really confident and felt good and we played 0 strong minutes but then in a span of 10 minutes into the third period we let it go," Wilks said.

This time around, the ladies lost to RIT 4-1 in the championship game.

"Our goalie played amazing, one of the best games I've ever seen her play, and if it weren't for her then we wouldn't have even had the chance to steal the game from them," Wilks said.

RIT was ready to take the win this year but Norwich wanted it just as bad, according to defensemen Kayla Lascelle, 20, a sports medicine major from Cornwall, Ont.

"The game was back and forth all game we had our chances and they had theirs. Kelly Fisk played unbelievable, but RIT capitalized on their opportunities and we couldn't finish ours. They scored the first goal but we didn't let up and came back to tie it up," Lascelle said.

The game of hockey is often a game focused around mistakes: How well a team can recover from their mistakes and/or how the other team can take advantage when a team makes mistakes, according to Lascelle.

"With our small mistakes, RIT took advantage of them and they took the game. It was really disappointing to know how it felt to win last year and to watch them celebrate," Lascelle said.

Being second place does sting as a senior, especially because the women had won against the same team the year before, but still, being second in the nation is a great accomplishment, according to Wilks.

"I did not take anything for granted this weekend and just enjoyed my last weekend of hockey with my fellow seniors and my team who is my family.

I had the best four years of my entire life with my teammates, coaches and fans. The support we had this year and past years have really helped us and pushed us," Rundlett said.

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