Middlebury, Vt. - The #2 ranked Middlebury College played host to the Spartans, who hoped to spoil the Panthers' weekend and come away with an upset. Four Middlebury goals in the third period ensured a victory for the Panthers who pulled out a 5-0 win over Castleton on Saturday at Kenyon Arena.
The loss snapped Castleton's three-game winning streak, and dealt the Spartans their first loss since suffering a 2-1 defeat to #3 Norwich on November 22. Paula Stephens made 30 saves in net for the Spartans, but suffered the loss. Madeline Marsh made 16 saves on the way to her second win in net on the season.
The Panthers got on the board early in the first period when Pam Schulman jammed home a rebound. Stephens made a pair of saves in a scrum in front of the net, but couldn't contain the rebounds, and Schulman buried the puck to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead just 4:24 into the contest.
The Spartans held Middlebury scoreless for the next 39:59, keeping the home team out of the net for the rest of the first period and the entire second frame. It wasn't until 4:23 into the third that the Panthers scored again. Hannah Bielawski netted a goal to put the Panthers up 2-0. Middlebury followed with three more goals in the period, with Emily Fluke, Katie Mandigo, and Jennifer Krakower each tallying to give the Panthers a commanding 5-0 lead.
The Spartans become the only team in the nation to have taken on the top three teams in the D3Hockey.com national rankings. Castleton fell to #1 Plattsburgh St. by a score of 1-0 earlier this season, and lost to ECAC East rival #3 Norwich 2-1.
Castleton falls to 6-5-0 on the year, and will take a month-long holiday break. The Spartans will return to action on January 7 when they host Potsdam St.