Wills Stands Tall In Net As Spartans Play No. 8/9 Connecticut College to 1-1 Draw

Wills Stands Tall In Net As Spartans Play No. 8/9 Connecticut College to 1-1 Draw

NEW LONDON, Conn. – Sophomore Rylie Wills made a career-high 54 saves between the pipes, as the Castleton University women's ice hockey team played nationally-ranked Connecticut College to a 1-1 draw on Tuesday night at Dayton Arena.

Wills stood tall all night, denying chance after chance with strong pad saves and a flashy glove throughout the contest. Freshman goaltender Dylan Nasr was solid on the other side as well, making 21 stops of her own for the Camels.

The tie comes as the first of the season for the Spartans, as they are now 4-8-1 overall, while No. 8/9 Connecticut College moves to 7-2-2.

After netting the game's first goal just twice in all of 2016, the Spartans have now opened the scoring in back-to-back contests after freshman Nicolle Trivino tallied her fourth of the season midway through the first period.

With the Camels looking to set up an offensive possession in the Spartans zone, Trivino intercepted a pass near her own blue line and pierced through the Camels' defense for a 1-on-1 opportunity with Nasr. Closing in on the goal, Trivino quickly went forehand-backhand to beat Nasr and put the Spartans up, 1-0, at the 9:49 mark of the period.

That would remain the score for almost a period and a half of play, despite multiple chances on both ends of the ice. With just 2:56 left in the second period, Trivino nearly delivered her second blow of the night on a slap shot from the point. Nasr was up to the task, however, showing off her quick glove to keep it a one-goal game. Just over a minute later, the Camels came away with one of their best chances of the night. Kyla Floresia made a nice wraparound move to set up Ashley Anctil for a point blank one-timer opportunity in front of the net. Wills was there for the answer to maintain the shutout for now.

Piling up 20 shots in the second period, the Camels' offensive pressure finally paid off in the waning seconds. After the Spartans were unable to break the puck out, Elena Gualtieri won a battle in the neutral zone to head in for one more chance. Kate Kohl received a pass from Gualtieri and put a quick shot on the net that Wills was able to get a pad on. Senior Michaela Igo was there to pounce on the rebound, however, as the home team netted the equalizer with just four ticks left in the period.

Both teams enjoyed key defensive plays in the third period. With just over eight minutes remaining, a Camels' defender broke up a quick 2-on-1 situation for Ashley Pelkey and Trivino. Later in the period, Felicia Bjalvegard had a strong defensive play that set up sophomore Aimee Briand going 1-on-1 the other way. Racing in down the far boards, Briand blasted a shot below the circle that Nasr turned away with just under two minutes left. Neither team was able to find the back of the net in the third period, as the two teams could not decide a winner in 60 minutes for the second straight year.

Despite spending nearly one minute of the extra period on the power-play, Castleton could not could not get into a rhythm, as Connecticut College held a 9-2 shots advantage in the overtime. Wills played another five minutes of stellar defense in net, as the game finished deadlocked at 1-1.  

Connecticut College held a 55-22 advantage in shots, while the teams combined to go 0-for-5 on the power-play. 

Castleton will complete its two-day road trip to Connecticut at Wesleyan on Wednesday for a non-conference matchup with the Cardinals at 3 p.m.