Women’s Hockey: UConn Downs Vermont, While Norwich, Middlebury and Castleton Earn Wins

Courtesy Vermont, Norwich, Middlebury and Castleton Sports Information Offices

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BURLINGTON — Theresa Schafzahl registered her second two-goal game of the season, but Vermont (9-14-7, 6-12-5 HEAW) fell to UConn (15-12-2, 12-8-2 HEAW) 4-2 in the seventh annual Pack the Gut game on Saturday afternoon. There were 1,163 fans in attendance at Gutterson Fieldhouse.

“UConn was opportunistic tonight and that continues to plague us,” said head coach Jim Plumer. “I want to thank everyone who came out to support us for Pack the Gut today and hope you come back out to support us tomorrow. I still believe our team has the opportunity to finish the season strong and I expect that to start tomorrow.”

The Huskies opened the scoring 8:24 into the game on Natalie Snodgrass’ 11th goal of the season. Catherine Crawley sent a pass that sprung the forward on a partial breakaway. Snodgrass faked to the right before lifting a shot over the outstretched pads of Natalie Ferenc (13 saves).
UVM answered minutes later with Schafzahl’s first goal of the night. Maude Poulin-Labelle dished the puck to the sophomore forward in the high slot where she wired a wrist shot past Samantha Carpentier-Yelle (30 saves). Sini Karjalainen also assisted on the power-play goal.
UConn scored twice in the first 10 minutes of the second period. Briana Colangelo picked up the puck behind the Vermont net and extended for a wraparound goal 5:14 into the frame. Catherine Crawley netted her 12th of the season minutes later from the right of the Catamount goal.
Vermont pushed back in the third period, outshooting UConn 16-2. Schafzahl recorded her second of the game with a blistering shot from the top of the circle. Poulin-Labelle and Kristina Shanahan assisted on the marker that pulled UVM to within one.
The Huskies struck 1:56 later to retake a two-goal lead. Emily Reid provided the insurance goal with assists from Viki Harkness and Leona Sim.
The Cats swarmed around the UConn zone and nearly cut the lead in the late minutes. Poulin-Labelle one-timed a shot from just outside the crease, but Carpentier-Yelle turned the attempt away.

Poulin-Labelle’s two assists gave her 27 points on the season, which ties a single-season record for most by a UVM blueliner. Dayna Colang ’16 set the mark in the 2013-14 season.

Vermont and UConn return to action on Sunday (Feb. 9) at Gutterson Fieldhouse. Puck drop is slated for 2 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase at UVMAthletics.com/Tickets or at the box office on gameday.

NORTHFIELD –– The Norwich University women’s ice hockey team had 14 different skaters get on the scoresheet in a 9-1 victory over Suffolk University on Saturday afternoon at Kreitzberg Arena in New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) action.

Norwich (16-4-2, 13-0-0 NEHC) extended its unbeaten streak to seven straight games and clinched its ninth league regular season title in the last 10 seasons with the victory. The Cadets also locked up the No. 1 seed and home ice throughout the NEHC playoffs.

Senior forwards Sophie McGovern (Hermantown, Minn.) and Amanda Conway (Methuen, Mass.) each scored two goals and had two assists to lead the Cadets’ offense in the victory.

Freshman forward Julia Masotta (Tewksbury, Mass.) scored two goals as well to continue her hot streak while playing with McGovern and Conway.

Conway opened the scoring at the 4:11 mark with a goal on a breakaway off assists from Samantha Benoit (Bow, N.H.) and Maddie Moell (Clarence Center, N.Y.). Benoit hit Conway with a pass at the Suffolk blue line in stride and then the speedy forward split the defense before coming in on goal and beating Julia McLellan five-hole for her 21st goal of the season.

McGovern made it 2-0 at the 7:41 mark with her 12th goal of the season off assists from Morgan Tefft (Redwood City, Calif.) and Conway. McGovern corralled a rebound off an initial shot from the blue line from Tefft to score her first of the game.

Senior Brynn Wopperer (Amherst, N.Y.) scored her fifth goal of the season on a pretty setup from behind the net by Kelley Madden (Novelty, Ohio) to make it 3-0 late in the first period.

Blossom Truel (Stratford, Wis.) scored her ninth goal of the year at the 19:29 mark to make it 4-0 Cadets after 20 minutes. Truel stuffed home a loose puck in the crease off assists from Moell and Hulst.

Norwich added two more power play goals in the second period to extend the lead to 6-0 after 40 minutes. Carley Sedlar (Howell, Mich.) scored her seventh off assists from Ann-Frederique Guay (St. Lambert-de-Lauzon, Quebec) and Benoit.

McGovern scored her second of the game and 13th of the season off assists from Ingrid Holstad-Berge (Stavanger, Norway) and Guay at the 15:40 mark of the second period.

Suffolk (7-12-3, 7-6-1 NEHC) scored for the first time in four all-time meetings against Norwich at the 4:09 mark of the third period with Molly Dowd cashing in a breakaway attempt, beating Norwich sophomore goalie Alexa Berg (West Fargo, N.D.) glove side to cut the lead to 6-1.

Norwich scored three more times before the final buzzer sounded with Masotta scoring twice and Conway capping the scoring with her 22nd of the season and 106th of her career to move into sole possession of third on the NCAA Division III all-time scoring list. She passed Tori Charron ’14, who had 105 goals between two seasons at Elmira and two at Norwich.

Norwich outshot Suffolk 68-16. Berg made 15 saves to improve to 6-3-2 on the season. McLellan made 41 saves and was pulled after two periods. Kristen Caporusso came on to make 18 saves in the final period.

Norwich will host Southern Maine on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. in a rescheduled game from Friday after the snowstorm forced the postponement.

MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury netted three power-play goals and erased all six shorthanded situations, as the Panthers earned a 4-1 victory over visiting Trinity on Saturday. Second-ranked Middlebury (14-2-3, 9-1-1) and the Bantams (5-10-2, 0-9-2) wrap up their two-game series Sunday at 3:00 p.m. in Kenyon Arena.

Trinity got the early jump on the Panthers, scoring 3:27 into the game. Ethel Wilhemson’s shot from the bottom of the left circle fluttered over Middlebury goalie Lin Han for a 1-0 Bantam lead. The hosts pulled even with a power-play marker with 12:59 on the clock, as Maddie Bayard cleaned up a rebound on a shot from the point by Anna Zumwinkle. The Panthers tacked on another goal with the player advantage when Mollie Dalbey slid in an attempt from the top of the crease for her first collegiate goal. That tally came 5:23 before the first intermission, after Jenna Letterie was denied on the original chance.

In the middle stanza, Middlebury’s penalty killing unit erased three Bantam power plays with Ashley McDonald making several key clears during that span to protect the one-goal lead. The Panthers tacked on a late tally for a 3-1 cushion when Letterie’s shot from the right wing was kicked out into the slot by Trinity goalie Stephanie Garvis. Katie Hargrave, who drove the net, deposited the rebound behind Garvis with 1:07 on the clock.

Middlebury added the only score of the final period on a nice passing play that started in the neutral zone. Madie Leidt chipped the puck ahead to Letterie on the far boards, who sent a perfect centering pass to the top of the crease where Dalbey directed in her second power-play goal of the contest with only 25 seconds ticked off the clock. The hosts killed off two Bantam player advantages later in the frame to finish a perfect 6-6, keeping the score 4-1 at the final horn.

Han earned the win in goal for the Panthers with 19 saves, while Garvis had 35 stops for Trinity. Middlebury finished 3-6 on the power play. By muting all six Bantam power plays, the Panthers are a perfect 35-35 on the penalty kill in conference play, while ranking second nationally at 94.7 percent (54-57).

RUTLAND — The Castleton University women’s ice hockey team, celebrating the 12th annual Pink the Rink game, used two goals from Darby Palisi as the Spartans defeated Southern Maine 3-2 in an overtime thriller Saturday afternoon at Spartan Arena.

The Spartans (11-8-3, 8-3-2 NEHC) took the lead over the Huskies (10-11-2, 8-6-0 NEHC) at the 5:59 mark of the first period. The Spartans, who have only scored five goals in the first period all season, got one tonight as Palisi tallied her first goal of the game after collecting the puck near center ice. She raced down the ice, took on three defenders and pushed the puck past goaltender Whitney Padgett.

The Huskies tied the game at one at the 4:54 mark of the second period. While on the power play, Grace Simmons took an initial shot from the blue line and Katie Nolan redirected the shot past goaltender Alexis Kalm to score her sixth goal of the season.

With the game tied entering the third period, the Spartans took the lead early in the third period. At the 3:44 mark of the period, Ryanne Mix took a one-time shot the left point as the Spartans took a 2-1 lead. The Huskies, however, weren’t down for long. At the 15:57 mark of the third period, the Huskies raced down the ice and Peyton Duksa threw a pass across the Spartan goal. Maddy Long finished off the play and slid the puck past Kalm to tie the game at two.

As neither team could tally the game-winning in regulation, the game went into overtime. At the 2:02 mark of the period, Courtney Gauthier found Palisi and after a scrum in front of the Huskies’ goal, Palisi tapped in the game-winner to secure the 3-2 win for the Spartans.

With the win, the Spartans took sole possession of second-place in the New England Hockey Conference standings. With 18 points, the Spartans are two points clear of UMass Boston and Southern Maine.

Women’s ice hockey returns to Spartan Arena tomorrow, Sunday, February 9 as it takes on Suffolk in NEHC action. The puck is scheduled to drop at 5 p.m.