Women's Hockey Falls Short Against No. 4 Norwich

Women's Hockey Falls Short Against No. 4 Norwich

Rutland, Vt. - The Castleton University women's ice hockey team played nationally-ranked Norwich to a tight battle through two periods, but four third-period goals secured a 6-1 victory for the Cadets in New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) action on Friday night at Spartan Arena. 

Castleton falls to 4-12-4 on the season and 3-7-2 in NEHC play following the loss, while No. 4 Norwich improves to 15-4-1 and 11-1-0 in the conference win the win.  

Five Cadets tallied two points on the night, led by Adrieana Rossini with a pair of goals. Nicole Goebel and Brynn Labbe each recorded two assists, while Jessica Piracini and Adelle Murphy compiled their two points with a goal and an assist each. Laurie King was strong in net for the Cadets, stopping 12 shots to improve to 13-1-1 on the season.

Aimee Briand netted the lone goal for Castleton, while freshman goaltender Alexis Kalm finished the night with 28 saves for the Spartans. Rylie Wills played the final 15:57 of the contest, notching 11 saves on 14 shots.

After a relatively uneventful opening 17 minutes, both teams cashed in late in the first period. Norwich struck first to break the scoreless tie with just 2:22 remaining when Rossini took an outlet pass inside the Spartan zone and snapped a wrist shot just inside the far circle that hammered off the cross bar and in.

The Cadet lead was short-lived, however, as Briand notched a transition goal of her own with just 51 seconds left in the opening period. The sophomore forced a turnover in the neutral zone, weaved through traffic and lifted a hard wrist shot that jumped high off King's shoulder. On it's way down, the puck snuck across the line and bounced in to level the game at 1-1 heading into the first period dressing room.

Norwich came out strong in the middle frame, outshooting Castleton 18-5. One of those Cadet shots found the back of the net as Rossini deposited her second of the night after winning a battle for the puck near the crease and slipping one inside the far post.

The Spartans came away with a key chance to tie the game late in the period when Jocelyn Forrest intercepted an errant outlet pass just outside the Cadet blue line. Forrest skated in and fired a shot from the near circle but it was for naught, as King steered it aside and the score remained 2-1 heading into the final stanza.

The Cadets took the control in the third period, pounding 19 shots on goal and spinning off four goals to put the game out of reach for Castleton. Relentless pressure came in large part due to five Spartan penalties in the period, as Norwich extended its lead to 4-1 with a pair of early power-play goals. Murphy lifted a wrist shot from the far circle over the right shoulder of Kalm at the 3:37 mark, before Desirae Kuhlmann drilled a slap shot just inside the near post at 8:24 to give the Cadets a comfortable lead.

Norwich was not done yet, adding two more goals down the stretch. With heavy pressure deep in the Spartan zone, Sophie McGovern sent a pass behind the net to Labbe, who found Piracini in front of the net for a tic-tac-toe goal at the 11:23 mark. Kim Taberi concluded the scoring just over six minutes later at 17:51 with a low slap shot that snuck through a scrum in front of the net and slipped just inside the near post. The Cadets played strong defense down the stretch to secure the 6-1 victory.

Norwich held a steady advantage in the shots department, 45-13, while also winning the faceoff battle, 36-25. Castleton was held off the board on its one power-play opportunity, while the Cadets finished 2-for-5 with the woman advantage.

The Spartans will be back in action on Saturday at 3 p.m. to take on New England College in a key NEHC battle at Spartan Arena.