Lasting legacy established by Emily Lambert with Norwich Cadets

A highly reliable goaltender hailing from the talent-rich state of Michigan, Emily Lambert left a lasting impression in three terrific seasons with the Norwich University Cadets. Part of a roster also featuring 2020 Laura Hurd Award winner Amanda Conway, Lambert, whose trademark checkerboard goalie pads are among the sharpest, and most colorful in collegiate hockey, contributed to a sensational season for the proud program, culminating in its fourth consecutive New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) conference championship.

Contributing with her own series of exemplary achievements, Lambert enjoyed a respectable 7-2-0 record, complemented by a solid 1.30 goals against average. Part of a goaltending unit which featured Alexa Berg and Kate Winstanley, her season debut took place on November 16, 2019, logging a remarkable 30 saves in a 4-1 victory versus the Trinity Bantams, allowing the Cadets their fourth straight win of the season.

Improving her career totals to a 26-6-1 mark by the end of her third season, while recording an astounding four shutouts, it allowed Lambert to climb to sixth overall in program history with 11 career shutouts. Of note, Lambert’s last shutout of 2019-20 took place on February 1, 2020. Needing only eight saves in a 5-0 blanking of the Johnson and Wales Wildcats in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Conway would record two goals and an assist, surpassing former Cadets star, and first-year head coach, Sophie Leclerc, for second overall in program scoring history.

There was certainly a unique tinge of coincidence in the fact that Lambert’s last appearance of the season took place versus Johnson and Wales two weeks later. With the February 15 affair occurring on home ice in Northfield, Vermont, she recorded 18 saves, part of a great team effort that resulted in an astounding 12 Cadets logging at least one point in the victory, as Samantha Benoit led the way with five assists.

Undeniably, one of Lambert’s greatest highlights as a Cadet involved the acquisition of hockey hardware during a memorable 2018-19 campaign, including the 2019 New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) Goalie of the Year Award, becoming the first player in Cadets history to ascend to such prestige.

The honor accentuated a sophomore season that involved a superlative 14-5-1 won-loss mark, highlighted by an incredible seven shutouts. Worth noting, the final shutout that season represented the game of her life. Blanking Castleton in a 6-0 win on March 2, 2019, it marked the third straight conference championship for the Cadets, and their ninth in program history, simultaneously qualifying for the NCAA Tournament.

Reflecting on the monumental milestones during such a season, Lambert’s humility and commendable devotion to her team stand out. Acknowledging how her achievements resulted in contributions from all her teammates, such an outlook demonstrates the type of model teammate that has defined her legacy at Norwich.

“I think achieving major milestones just goes to show how important teamwork and reliability are. A goalie is nothing without the players in front of him/her and a team is incomplete in this game without a goalie. These titles show that working together as a team, we were on top of our all-around game, both defensively and offensively.”

Equally admirable throughout Lambert’s journey at Norwich involved the proficiency displayed in the classroom. Graduating in merely three years, recording an impressive 4.0 Grade Point Average while double majoring in International Business and Spanish, the rewards for such remarkable labors were truly plentiful. Recognized as one of the university’s Scholar Athletes of the Year for 2020, shining just as well in the classroom as on the ice.

Along with membership in prestigious honor societies such as Delta Mu Delta and Sigma Delta Pi honor societies, Lambert has also displayed a remarkable preparation towards her post-playing career. Having successfully enjoyed internships with the Central Vermont Economic Development Corporation, plus the Henry Ford Corporation. Perhaps more impressive is her highly philosophical approach to life after sport, demonstrating an exceptional maturity which resonates,

“It is extremely important to perform just as well in the classroom as it is on the ice because while we are in school to play hockey, we are also in school to get an education and start a career path. Unfortunately, hockey ends eventually, and no matter the reason, when that does happen, it is important to have another path to take. Performing well academically sets one up for success outside of the athletic world, so that when sports are no longer the main focus, one’s first thought is not ‘now what’?”

Following it up with acclaim as a CoSIDA Academic All-American First Team selection, becoming only the second Norwich women’s ice hockey player to gain CoSIDA honors, joining Julie Fortier (2012), such an achievement stands as one of Lambert’s greatest hallmarks. Having also enjoyed the prestige of a national championship as a freshman, when the Cadets defeated perennial contender Elmira by a 2-1 mark in the Finals, there is a strong feeling of having arrived full circle. Undeniably, Lambert’s combined body of work, in the classroom and on the ice, has propelled her into both, role model status and program icon.

Encompassing the positive impact that student-athletes can bring to campus life, acknowledging the responsibility and commitment required to balance both preparation for on-ice performance and the necessary study time, a significant factor in excelling stemmed from the encouragement of the coaching staff. With a staff that includes the highly celebrated Leclerc, a member of the 2020 Cadets Hall of Fame, who stepped into the role of head coach after Mark Bolding, bringing her own Cadets career full circle, after spending time as an assistant coach with Colgate University, her presence provides a sense of empathy and understanding, allowing the players to cultivate a confidence that translates effectively in all facets.

“I am proud of this achievement because as every student athlete knows, it takes a lot of hard work to balance out practice schedules and class schedules. However, I am way prouder of how much emphasis the coaches and team put on the importance of doing well in school. The Norwich Women’s Ice Hockey culture is extremely supportive of players/teammates both on and off the ice, which translates into academic and athletic success for all of us.”

Lambert between the pipes with her checkerboard goalie pads (Photo credit: Nate LePage)

Beyond competition at the rink, Lambert has also enriched her Cadets career by adding the revered standing of Hockey Humanitarian. Serving as an extension of her strong leadership and teamwork skills, combining elements of compassion and sincerity, Lambert graciously gave her time, geared towards improving the quality of life for others in the community.

Among the most cherished causes for Lambert involved volunteering for the Wheels for Warmth annual fundraising event. Founded by Phil Scott in 2005, the fundraiser, which has raised in excess of $400,000, accepts donations of unused tires. Geared towards assisting families based in the Central Vermont area who require heating throughout the winter months, the combination of tire sales, recycling and other initiatives has represented a win-win, assisting low income individuals, while reducing landfill.

“It is super important to give back to the community, especially since the community in Northfield and central Vermont in general is so supportive of Norwich Athletics. It is a way to show our appreciation for them. Moreover, there is more to life than hockey, and I feel that a big part of existing within a community is helping out those around you in any way that you can.”

“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”

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