Women’s Hockey: Spartan Offense Explodes Past St. Michael’s, 6-3

Courtesy Castleton Sports Information

SOUTH BURLINGTON – The Castleton women’s hockey team picked up a New England Hockey Conference victory on Friday evening, defeating St. Michael’s by a final score of 6-3 at Cairns Arena.

Anna Daniels, Hannah Rose, and Jocelyn Forrest each tallied one goal and one assist in the win. Rachael Brazil made 35 saves to pick up a win in her first start of the season for the Spartans.

Castleton moves to 14-4-2 overall on the season, matching its win total from a season ago. The Spartans are now 9-2-1 in conference play this year following the victory. St. Michael’s drops to 3-15-1 overall, and 1-11-0 in NEHC play with its ninth consecutive loss.

Castleton got on the board first, opening the scoring at 8:19 of the first period. Brianna Keats found the back of the net, unassisted, for her fourth goal of the season to give the Spartans the early 1-0 lead. The Purple Knights would get one back at 15:39, drawing the game even at 1-1 when Emily Loebs found Jillian Witwicki for the equalizer.

Both offenses came out of the locker room with energy in the second period, with the Spartans putting up at pair of goals just minutes apart to jump out to a 3-1 lead. Morgan Richard netted her first career goal on an assist from Taylor Steadman, before Daniels recorded her third goal of the season on an assist from Rose. St. Michael’s wouldn’t back down, as Amanda Kempainen scored her sixth goal of the year to make it a 3-2 game with 11:03 to play in the second period. With less than nine minutes to go in the second stanza, Daniels would return the favor to Rose, setting her up for a shorthanded goal to give Castleton a 4-2 lead. Once more, St. Michael’s found the back of the net to make it a one-goal game. On the power play, Ashley Dineen lit the lamp on an assist from Sarah Bagley to send the game into its final period of play at 4-3 in favor of the Spartans.

Leading by just one goal going into the final period, the Spartan offense looked to extend its lead. At 11:08 of the third period, Forrest scored her first career goal for Castleton, unassisted, to extend the Spartan lead to 5-3. Five minutes later, the Spartans struck again when Forrest found Ashley Pelkey to push the Castleton lead to three goals, making the score 6-3.

Making just her third appearance of the season, Brazil was put to the test in goal for Castleton. The junior faced 38 shots, stopping 35 of them en route to her first career victory. Nicole Talcott and Erica Ragazzo split time in net for the Purple Knights, combining for 32 saves in the contest.

The teams were even in the shot department, at 38 a side. The Spartans failed to convert on their only power play of the game, while St. Michael’s took advantage of the extra skater converting two of its four power-play opportunities into goals. Castleton controlled the face-off dot, winning 36 out of 59 draws in the game.

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