Castleton, Vt. - Rachel Bombardier put up an incredible effort in her goaltending debut for the Spartans, making 18 saves to lead the Spartans to a 10-8 win over Southern Maine on Sunday at Spartan Stadium.
Kate Auer finished with four goals, including the go-ahead score while Brianna MacKay finished with three scores as the Spartans fought through a late one-goal deficit to earn their first win of the year.
Lauren Lessard led off the game with a goal at the 3:00 mark to give Southern Maine an early 1-0, but the Spartans came storming back with a pair of goals. Jennilee Mark tied the game 1:57 later with a goal off of a Maddy DaCosta assist. Amanda Flodstrom followed suit with an unassisted goal 5:32 into the game to put the team ahead 2-1. Just past halfway through the first half, Anh Nguyen tied the game with a free position goal.
Castleton finished the half with a flurry though, jumping out to a 6-4 lead at the halftime break after a 4-2 run over the final 13 minutes of the half. Kate Auer and Brianna MacKay each scored two goals in the final minutes of the half to give the Spartans the halftime advantage.
Just 21 seconds into the second half, Southern Maine cut into the Spartans' lead. Rosie Forster won the draw and beat Bombardier to make it 6-5. Just 2:05 later, Forster struck again to tie the game at 6-6. Jacki Kelly put the Huskies ahead with 20:56 remaining in the game with an unassisted goal to make it 7-6.
In the final ten minutes of the game, the Spartans took off on a 4-1 run to shut down the Huskies. MacKay and Auer tallied back-to-back goals to put the Spartans ahead 8-7 with 8:40 to go. Amanda Flodstrom added a free position goal with 7:47 remaining to put the home team ahead 9-7.
With their backs against the wall, Southern Maine pushed down the field with just under four minutes, and notched a goal to cut the lead to one. Sarah Pellegrinelli converted a pass from Anh Nguyen to make it 9-8 with 3:56 remaining.
In the final three minutes, Castleton took possession of the ball and cycled it around the offensive zone. With 10 seconds left, the Huskies finally forced a turnover and took possession behind their net. An errant pass found its way to Kate Auer, who finished the broken play with an insurance goal to put Castleton up 10-8 with six seconds remaining to seal the win.
Jacki Kelly scooped a game-high six ground balls for the Huskies, grabbed four draw controls, and earned four caused turnovers to go along with her two goals. Kim Vogel made four saves in net for the Huskies to take the loss. Sarah Clark led the Spartans with four ground balls, while Blake Wardwell scooped three, along with three draw controls and two caused turnovers. Emilee Maher and Tiffany Danyow each forced three turnovers to lead the Spartan defense. Bombardier's 18 saves in her goaltending debut earned her the victory, making her 1-0 in net on the year.
Castleton improves to 1-3 on the season and will return to the field on Thursday, March 27 when they host Plymouth St. in their final game before North Atlantic Conference play begins.