RUTLAND, Vt. – Aimee Briand's three-point afternoon led an aggressive offensive output and propelled the three-seed Castleton University women's ice hockey team to a 5-2 win over visiting No. 6 the University of Southern Maine on Saturday afternoon in New England Hockey Conference quarterfinal action.
The Spartans improve to 13-12-1 overall and advance to the conference tournament semifinal round, while the Huskies wrap up their season with an 8-17-1 record.
From the starting face-off, Castleton's offense was scorching hot. Firing on all cylinders like a well-oiled machine, the Spartans tallied 20 shots in the opening period. Notching 24 more during the middle frame, Castleton finished with 56 attempts on net.
Converting on a scoring opportunity just over three minutes into first-period play, Lisa Kilroy tallied her 11th goal of the season. Poking at the loose puck, Kilroy got it to go on the second attempt after Hannah Rose's entry snipe from the far-side point.
Similar to a week ago Castleton broke open the contest in the second, notching three goals. Ali Stevens made it 2-0 Spartans from the top of the circle at the near-side point, corralling the puck that Aimee Briand kicked out upon winning the face off.
Breaking up the Castleton scoring, Southern Maine's Amanda Piknick tallied her first of two on the afternoon. Coming off the boards, the forward moved through the defense and flicked the puck off of Spartan goalie Alexis Kalm's right shoulder. The puck travelled up Kalm's arm and clipped the post and crossbar at the joint before eventually tucking into the netting.
Later in the third period with less than eight minutes showing on the clock, Piknick went coast-to-coast for her sixth goal of the year. With masterful skating the sophomore dangled from right to left crossing both blue lines, faked right and sent the puck past the outstretched left leg of Kalm.
As part of the three-goal second period, Nicolle Trivino and Aimee Briand tallied their sixth and 12th goals, respectively. Trivino, similar to Kilroy, poked the puck through on her second try after Maeghan Vasile originally ripped a snapshot.
On the other hand, Briand mimicked Piknick with her defense-dodging ability as she took the puck from Courtney Gauthier and Jade Remillard. From the nearside wall, she skated past a defender and with another challenging, lifted the puck into the back of the twine.
Finishing Castleton's scoring, Rose notched her fifth of the season with a scorcher from just inside the blue line. Originally heading wide, the puck hit a Husky and caromed into the goal.
Between the pipes Kalm earned her 10th win of the year, making 24 saves on 26 shots. Starting in net for Southern Maine, Britney Evangelista was tagged with the loss despite stopping 40 shots through 40 minutes of play. In relief, Whitney Padgett made 11 saves in the third period.
Castleton will return to the ice as it travels to face two-seed UMass Boston – the Beacons defeated Salve Regina 5-2 earlier on Saturday in their quarterfinal pairing – on Saturday, Feb. 24.
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