Spartans Down Valiants 3-1

Spartans Down Valiants 3-1

RUTLAND, Vt. – After falling down 1-0 early in the first, Castleton battled back to capture a 3-1 victory over the Manhattanville Valiants in the consolation contest of the Rutland Herald Invitational. 

The Spartans and Valiants were level in terms of shots at 35 apiece, but the hosts managed to kill off all four of its penalties en route to the victory. Brianna Keats led the offense with one goal and one assist, while Rachel Bombardier and Hannah Rose scored one goal apiece, as the Spartans improved to 8-5-1 on the season.

Just nine seconds into the opening frame, Manhattanville grabbed the lead. After Castleton's Paula Stephens pushed a shot aside, a scrum ensued in front of the net, and Alla Traun gathered the puck and finished it home for her second goal of the tournament, giving the visitors an early 1-0 advantage. 

However, that didn't last long, as the Spartans leveled the game with 4:05 remaining in the first when Bombardier scored for the first time since Castleton's 1-0 victory over Nichols on Nov. 15. Taylor Steadman fired a shot on target that the Valiants' Kirsten Shaughnessy denied, but Bombardier was there to knock in the rebound and even the game at 1-1.

Less than three minutes later, Rose tallied her first career goal to give Castleton the lead. The freshman forward received the puck behind the net, skated to the side and slipped a wraparound shot just inside the post, making it 2-1 in favor of the hosts. 

Following the first intermission, the Valiants came out with strong, attacking play, and just before the 3:00 mark, Stephens was forced to make a flurry of saves, including a fantastic double-save, to keep the Spartans one-goal lead intact. 

Castleton grabbed its third score of the game when Keats notched her third goal in as many games to push the Spartan lead to 3-1. With a 4-on-3 advantage, Sam Pion rifled a shot from the point that was knocked aside, and Keats slipped home the rebound to give the hosts a two-goal lead with 5:38 remaining in the frame. 

The Spartans managed to silence the Manhattanville attack in the final period of play, including killing off a 5-on-3 advantage, to secure a 3-1 victory. 

In net, Stephens turned in a terrific performance with 34 saves, including 32 straight to end the game, to improve to 4-2-1 overall. Shaughnessy, meanwhile, suffered her fourth loss of the season after stopping 32 shots with three goals allowed.

Castleton returns to the ice next Friday at 4 pm when it hosts Plymouth St. in ECAC East action at Spartan Arena.