CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton University women's ice hockey team hits the ice this weekend for a pair of New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) contests, hosting St. Michael's on Friday afternoon at 4 p.m., before traveling to Plymouth State for a 2 p.m. matinee at Hanaway Rink on Saturday.
Castleton (4-9-2) enters the night 1-1-2 over its last four contests, including a 7-1 win over SUNY Canton and 1-1 stalemates at No. 8/9 Connecticut College and Wesleyan. After a 4-0 loss to Holy Cross last Friday, the Spartans currently rank eighth in the latest NEHC standings with a 3-4-0 mark in conference play.
With four points over the last five games, Jocelyn Forrest is in front of the squad with eight points on four goals and four assists. Nicolle Trivino, NEHC's reigning Rookie of the Week, has emerged as the team's leading goal-scorer after enjoying a three-game goal streak last week. The freshman has five goals to go with one assist, joining teammates Hannah Rose and Chanel Tvergyak with six points overall.
Rylie Wills and Alexis Kalm have both shared time in net for Castleton. The duo has a 3.14 goals against average, while Wills leads the team with a .917 save percentage. Earning the nod in four of the last five games, Wills (1-3-1) recorded a career-high 54 saves in the draw at Connecticut College on Jan. 10. Kalm (1-4-1) owns a key win this season for the Spartans, making 24 saves to drop No. 9 UMass-Boston, 2-1, on Nov. 19.
St. Michaels (0-14-0) makes the trip to Spartan Arena still looking for its first win of the season after most recently dropping a 3-1 decision at Holy Cross last Saturday. The Purple Knights are currently 0-7-0 in NEHC action.
Despite the winless record, St. Michael's has come out on the wrong end of tight affairs all season, including a pair of 3-1 defeats to Holy Cross and a 2-1 loss to UMass-Boston. In Saturday's loss to the Crusaders, the Purple Knights took a 1-0 lead into the third period before allowing three unanswered goals down the stretch.
Averaging .50 goals per game offensively, senior Athena Akiki leads the way with three points on two goals and an assist. Carolyn Avery, Erin Dwyer, and Kaitlyn Wurzer have each recorded a pair of assists, while Tori Hubbard has picked up two points on a goal and an assist.
Two goaltenders have seen quality time between the pipes for the Purple Knights. Senior Tina Frasca leads the team with eight starts, a 3.29 goals against average, and a .918 save percentage. Abby Burke has posted a .3.88 goals against average and a .901 save percentage in five starts this season – three of which have come versus NEHC opponents.
This will be the 23rd all-time meeting between the two programs. Dating back to 2008, Castleton holds the slight edge, 11-10-1. Most recently, the Spartans earned a 6-3 road victory over the Purple Knights last season.
Following Friday night's matchup, Castleton will head to Plymouth State for the final meeting against the Panthers this season. Castleton earned the 2-0 shutout victory the last time the teams suited up against one another on Nov. 11. Plymouth State is currently 5-9-1 overall, including a 2-6-0 mark in NEHC play.
Averaging 2.87 goals per game offensively, four Panthers have recorded double-digit points this season. After picking up a goal and an assist in a 4-3 loss to the University of New England last Saturday, Haley Branovan leads the team with 13 points to date on six goals and seven assists. Shannon Hickey is second on the team with 11 points, while Caitlyn Connor and Alexis Fagan have each tallied 10 points on the season.
Sophomore Emelie Lindqvist leads the goaltender crew with eight starts in net. At 1-6-0 on the season, Lindqvist has an .895 save percentage to go with a 3.24 goals against average, while Mariah Trupp (3-2-0) leads the team in both categories with a .918 save percentage and 2.64 goals against average in five starts.
After the win earlier this season, Castleton owns the all-time series, 17-3-2. The Spartans earned a 4-1 win over the Panthers at Hanaway Rink last season.