Women's Hockey Comes Up Short Versus Holy Cross

Women's Hockey Comes Up Short Versus Holy Cross

RUTLAND, Vt. – Despite multiple chances throughout the contest for the Castleton University women's ice hockey team, timely scoring prevailed for Holy Cross as the Crusaders scored a trio of second-period goals and earned the 4-0 win over the Spartans in New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) action on Friday night at Spartan Arena.

The loss snaps a three-game unbeaten streak for Castleton as it drops to 4-9-2 overall and 3-4-0 in the NEHC, while Holy Cross extends its winning streak to five games and improves to 13-2-0, 6-1-0.

Rylie Wills finished the night with 28 saves for Castleton, before Alexis Kalm relieved her late in the third period to make the final six saves of the night in net. Marcia LaPlante stopped all 18 shots she faced for Holy Cross to pick up her second shutout of the season and improve to 4-0-0 overall.

Castleton had one of the initial chances in the game when Ashley Pelkey found room in the neutral zone and raced down the boards to let a shot go from the near circle. Her knuckling wrist shot snuck past the glove of LaPlante but rang off the cross bar to keep the game scoreless. Holy Cross had a plethora of chances of its own, but neither goaltender gave in as both teams were headed to the dressing room with the game still 0-0 after the first 20 minutes.

The Crusaders came out strong in the second period, outshooting Castleton 14-5. The Spartans again owned the first chance, however, when Jocelyn Forrest busted loose just seconds into the period. Searching for the game's first goal, in her own defensive zone Sabrina Hosner sent a pass blue line to blue line and found Forrest who snuck past the Crusaders' defense and had only the goaltender left to beat. Skating in on the breakaway, Forrest lifted a shot that ran off LaPlante's mask and from there Holy Cross was able to recover.

After the Crusaders were able to gain possession, Emily Lissner broke a scoreless tie just 1:14 into the second on a feed from Maeve Reilly at the near circle. Reilly's pass reached Lissner in front of the net and she was able to spin around a pair of Spartan defenders to sneak one past Wills and give Holy Cross the 1-0 advantage.

Less than two minutes later, Elizabeth Scala notched her third goal of the season on the power play. Controlling the puck in the Spartans zone, Hannah Gills and Erin Hall cycled the puck around before finding Scala contested near the crease. Wills was able to handle the initial shot but Scala scooped up her own rebound and pocketed the back of the net to double the Crusaders' lead at 3:01 of the second period.

With just 3:20 left in the middle frame, Castleton came up with another big opportunity and again it was Forrest 1-on-1 with the goaltender. Looking to make a move this time, Forrest went with a low shot that LaPlatne was able to get a pad on and send momentum back towards the visitors, as the third goal of the night was scored less than two minutes later.

Deep in Castleton's zone, Kara Violette sent a pass to Scala behind the net. Scala then skated towards the far boards and found Messina creeping in from the blue line. Messina sent a shot that skipped through a scrum in front of the net and past Wills to extend the Crusaders lead to 3-0 with just 1:28 left in the period.

Lissner capped off the scoring with her second of the night at the 4:59 mark of the final period. Despite multiple chances again down the stretch, Castleton was unable to find the answer as LaPlatne made her final seven saves of the night to secure the shutout.

Holy Cross held a 38-18 advantage in shots on the night and finished 1-for-3 on the power play. Castleton was unable to capitalize on its three power play chances but earned the victory in the face off circle, 27-24.

After battling through five games over the previous seven days, the Spartans will rest up before returning to action on Friday, Jan. 20, for a home NEHC contest versus St. Michael's with puck drop slated for 4 p.m. at Spartan Arena.