Spartans Stifled by No. 4 Norwich

Spartans Stifled by No. 4 Norwich

RUTLAND, Vt. – Castleton had it's three game unbeaten run snapped this evening, as the fourth-ranked Norwich Cadets overcame a one-goal deficit to capture a 5-2 victory at Spartan Arena. 

The Spartans outshot the opposition 28-23 and capitalized on two power play opportunities, but fell to 11-11-2 (6-8-2 ECAC East) in the losing effort. Norwich, meanwhile, improves to 17-4-3 (14-0-2 ECAC East) overall and remains unbeaten in conference play after completing the season sweep over Castleton.

The hosts wasted little time to grab their first lead of the contest, as Tori Pizzuto scored her third goal in the past three games and sixth of the season just 3:17 into the opening frame. On a power play opportunity, Hannah Wright sent a pass across the crease that found Pizzuto at the near post, and the senior forward slotted it home, giving Castleton a one-goal advantage.

The fourth-ranked Cadets continued to battle, and at the 12:08 mark in the first, Taylor Cross capitalized on a power play opportunity to even the game at one. Cross received a pass near the blue line on the far side of the ice, skated towards the top of the point and fired a slapshot through traffic that beat Castleton's Paula Stephens to put the game on level terms.

Less than a minute later, Norwich struck again to claim the lead. On a two-on-one break, Erin Joyce skated towards the far post and finished a shot top shelf to make it 2-1 in favor of the away side.

The Cadets doubled their lead at the 6:03 mark in the second frame. With a player down, Kaycie Anderson intercepted a pass in the defensive zone to create a breakaway opportunity. After Stephens knocked aside her initial attempt, Anderson gathered the rebound and fired a shot that deflected off the near post and across the goal line, pushing Norwich's advantage to two. 

Sarah Schwenzfeier tacked on a fourth score for the visiting side just over three minutes later. The freshman forward skated across the blue line and into the crease before slipping a shot just under Stephens' pads to give the Cadets a 4-1 lead and record her eighth goal of the year.

At the 2:58 mark, Pizzuto clashed with a defenseman for position before skating around the Cadet to create a scoring opportunity, but Norwich's Celeste Robert came up with a difficult save to deny the effort and maintain the Spartans' three-goal deficit. 

Just over a minute into the final frame, the visitors found their fifth goal of the evening when Madyson Moore scored for the sixth time this year. A Cadet player fired a shot from the far point that Moore redirected into the back of the net, giving the away side a four-goal cushion.

Lisa Kilroy reduced the Spartans' deficit back to three when she finished her own rebound at the 6:32 mark in the third, but it proved to be too late, as the Cadets earned their third straight win of the season with a 5-2 victory.

In net, Stephens suffered her fifth loss of the season for Castleton after stopping 18 of the 23 shots that she faced, while Robert produced 26 saves to record her eighth win of the year. 

The Spartans return to the ice tomorrow at 3 pm when they play their final game of the regular season against the New England College Pilgrims on Senior Day at Spartan Arena.