Two Maine natives helped bring an NCAA championship to the state of Vermont.

Sophomore forward Alyssa Hulst of Scarborough and assistant coach Mollie Fitzpatrick of Falmouth were part of Norwich University’s 2-1 win against Elmira College on Saturday in the NCAA Division III women’s hockey championship.

“I’m still kind of speechless from it all and it’s still starting to settle in,” Hulst said.

Playing in its home Kreitzberg Arena, Norwich scored the winning goal with 1:33 to play.

ALYSSA HULST

“It was pretty fun playing in an atmosphere like that, especially in our home barn,” Hulst said.

Norwich, located in Northfield, Vermont, finished 27-1-3. It was the Cadets’ second national title. The first was in 2011 when Fitzpatrick was a player.

Now in her third season as a full-time assistant coach, Fitzpatrick said both the team and Hulst were motivated by tough endings to the 2016-17 season.

Norwich lost to eventual champion Plattsburgh (New York) State 4-0 in the national semifinal, extending its winless streak against the Cardinals to 13 games.

Hulst’s season ended much earlier when she tore her ACL and MCL ligaments on Dec. 31, 2016, 10 games into her college career. But less than 10 months later, she was back to full activity and ready for the 2017-18 opener.

“How well we did this season and just coming back from the injury that I had, it was quite a way to come back,” she said.

Hulst, a 5-foot-7 right wing, scored 16 goals with 14 assists in 30 games, with seven power-play goals. She tied for the team lead in winning goals (five) and penalty minutes (22). In 40 career games, Hulst has 19 goals and 19 assists.

“She is basically the ultimate power forward,” said Fitzpatrick. “She’s got the strength and the speed and the skill set but she also backchecks and forechecks really hard. She’s a full-fledged hockey player and fit our team really well.”

Hulst teamed all season with center Sarah Schwenzfeier (15 goals, 23 assists) and Adrienna Rossini (21 goals, 23 assists) to form a potent second line. Norwich’s top six forwards all had at least 30 points.

Hulst, scoreless in the Frozen Four, scored two goals in Norwich’s 8-2 quarterfinal win against Morrisville State.

In Friday’s semifinals, Norwich beat Hamline (Minnesota) 5-1 after Elmira eliminated four-time defending champ Plattsburgh 3-2 in double overtime.

A near-capacity crowd of 1,242 showed up for Saturday’s Division III final. By comparison, the Hockey East women’s semifinals, held March 3 at Northeastern’s Matthews Arena, drew 1,202 for two games involving Maine, Boston College, Connecticut and Northeastern.

Only three Division I women’s hockey programs (Wisconsin, Minnesota and Minnesota-Duluth) averaged more than 1,000 fans in 2017-18. Maine’s average attendance was 211.

“I’ve never played in front of that big a crowd,” Hulst said.

Hulst is the daughter of former Portland Pirates captain Kent Hulst, who coached locally at North Yarmouth Academy, Cheverus and youth teams including Alyssa’s U19 Junior Pirates’ team that won the 2015 USA Hockey Tier II national title.

“I grew up at the rink. I was a rink rat,” Alyssa Hulst said. “My dad always told me I was skating before I was walking.”

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:

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