Spartans Outlasted By UNE in NEHC Quarterfinals, 3-2

Spartans Outlasted By UNE in NEHC Quarterfinals, 3-2

Rutland, Vt. – The Castleton women's hockey team jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, but the University of New England battled back to score the game's final three goals to earn the 3-2 victory in a New England Hockey Conference quarterfinal matchup on Saturday afternoon at Spartan Arena.  

Castleton's season comes to an end with an 8-14-4 mark overall, while UNE will advance to the NEHC semifinals with an 11-13-2 overall record.

Sabrina Hosner and Hannah Rose scored the goals for Castleton, with Aimee Briand and Chanel Tvergyak each picking up an assist. Alexis Kalm finished with 26 saves in net for Castleton.

Abby Kinens tallied two points on a goal and an assist for UNE, while Julianne Sheehan also earned two points on a pair of assists. Sydney Helmbrecht finished with 26 saves between the pipes for the Nor'easters.

Hosner broke a scoreless tie early in the first period after corralling a puck in the high slot and potting a wrist shot into the top right corner of the net at 3:55. Tvergyak and Briand both chipped shots on goal before Hosner potted her first goal of the season to give Castleton the early 1-0 lead.

UNE came away with its best chance of the period off the ensuing faceoff when Cassandra Connolly broke loose in the offensive zone. Closing in she made a quick move but Kalm sprawled out to make the save and hold the lead.

Castleton doubled its lead late in the period with Rose netting her team-leading 12th goal of the season. Rose intercepted a pass just inside the far faceoff circle and quickly lifted a wrist top shelf to make it 2-0. Kalm was strong in the period, making 13 saves overall to hold the 2-0 lead into the first intermission.

Despite outshooting UNE in the second period 9-4, the Nor'easters scored two power play goals to level the game. Emily Corrales cut the deficit in half on perfect execution of a tic-tac-toe play from Sheehan and Mary Wirth. At the blue line in the offensive zone, Wirth sent a pass to Sheehan at the goal line. Sheehan then quickly fed a pass to Corrales at the door step, where she beat Kalm to make it 2-1 at the 12:04 mark.

The Nor'easters tied the game just over three minutes later. Directly off the faceoff in the offensive zone, Abby Kinens won it to Annie Mullens in the slot, where she one-timed a wrist shot just over the glove of Kalm to draw the game even at 2-2 at 15:56 of the period. Neither side gained an advantage over the final four minutes of the period as the game went into the third period even 2-2.

UNE wasted little time getting on the board in the third period, again on the power play. After Castleton killed off the first penalty of a 5-on-3, the Nor'easters did not let the Spartans get away with another. With heavy pressure in the offensive zone, Kinens gave the Nor'easters their first lead of the night just 5:59 into the final frame. Battling off a defender near the crease, Kinens slipped a low shot just inside the near post to make the score 3-2 in favor of the visitors.

Castleton's greatest chance to tie the game came with just under six minutes left. Jocelyn Forrest was in position for a rebound opportunity with an open net, but she was tied up at the last second by a Nor'easter defender to hold their lead. Helmbrecht was strong throughout the final period, making all 10 saves as the game ended 3-2.

UNE held a slim in advantage in shots, 29-28, while finishing 3-for-4 on the power play. Castleton won the faceoff battle 39-22, but came up empty on its lone power-play opportunity.