Women's Hockey Set for NEHC Quarterfinal Tilt Versus UNE

Women's Hockey Set for NEHC Quarterfinal Tilt Versus UNE

CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton women's hockey team will face off with the University of New England in a New England Hockey Conference quarterfinal matchup at 3 p.m. on Saturday at Spartan Arena.

Castleton finished the regular season on a high note, winning four of its last five games to shift into a hosting position for the quarterfinal round. The Spartans checked off New England College, Southern Maine, UNE, and Nichols over the last three weeks of the regular season to finish 8-13-4 overall and 7-8-2 in the NEHC.

The Spartans went 6-8-0 at home in the regular season, but have rattled off three wins in a row at Spartan Arena heading into the postseason.

Aimee Briand leads the offense with 18 points on eight goals and 10 assists. Six of those points have come in the last three games and she has picked up at least one point in six straight contests. Hannah Rose has also fed off her linemate's recent success, tallying 10 points over the last five games. Two weeks ago against UNE, she came away with a career-high four points on three goals and one assist. Rose has tallied 17 points on the season with a team-high 11 goals and six assists, while Jocelyn Forrest has netted 10 goals and dished out five helpers for 15 points. Chanel Tvergyak leads the defensive unit with six goals and five assists.

Freshman goaltender Alexis Kalm was stellar down the stretch of the regular season. Over her last six starts between the pipes, Kalm has a .937 save percentage and a 1.80 goals-against average. She posted back-to-back shutouts in her final two starts of the regular season against Southern Maine and Nichols. Rylie Wills has also seen quality time in net this season, holding a .912 save percentage and a 3.33 goals-against average to go with her 3-4-1 record. Wills made the start two weeks ago against UNE, making 31 saves in the winning effort. 

UNE (10-13-2, 7-9-1 NEHC) enters the postseason with consecutive wins under its belt against Plymouth State and St. Michael's. The Nor'easters have not played well on the road this season, coming in with just a 4-9-0 mark away from home.

The Nor'easters boast six players in double-digit scoring this season, led by Gabby Crugnale with 16 points on 10 goals and six assists. Crugnale also leads the team with 11 points in NEHC play. Mary Wirth and Annie Mullen have each tallied 15 points on five goals and 10 assists, followed by Kierra Wright with 13 points on one goal and a team-high 11 helpers.

Senior goaltender Sydney Helmbrecht has made 599 saves on the season and leads the unit with a .906 save percentage and a 3.12 goals-against average. Helmbrecht has started all but three games in net this season for the Nor'easters and holds a 9-11-1 overall record. She started both games against Castleton in the regular season, going 1-1-0 with a total of 54 saves combined.

UNE has the fourth-ranked power-play unit in the NEHC, converting on 21 of its 108 opportunities for a 19.4 overall percentage. In two games against Castleton during the regular season, the Nor'easters netted three goals on eight opportunities with the woman advantage.

Each team earned a win against one another on home ice in the regular season. The Nor'easters defeated Castleton, 3-2, on Jan. 27 at Harold Alfond Forum Ice Arena, before the Spartans got the better of their foes at Spartan Arena, 6-4, on Feb. 11.

Rose was Castleton's leading scorer against UNE in the regular season with her four points, including her first career hat trick in the win. Tatum Geitl led the Nor'easters with three points on two goals and one assist in the two regular-season matchups.  

Castleton holds a 6-2-0 all-time advantage over UNE, including a 4-1-0 mark on home ice.