Women's Hockey Resumes NEHC Action On The Road

Women's Hockey Resumes NEHC Action On The Road

CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton University women's ice hockey team hits the road this weekend for a pair of out-of-state New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) tilts on Friday and Saturday.

Castleton (4-10-3) will take on the University of New England at 7 p.m. on Friday night for a critical contest at the Nor'easters, before sending off to face the Huskies of Southern Maine on Saturday at 1 p.m.

The Spartans are coming off an 0-1-1 week after a 2-2 draw at Plymouth State last Saturday was preceded by a 5-2 loss to St. Michael's the previous night. 

With five points in the last seven games, Jocelyn Forrest leads the squad with nine points to date on five goals and four assists. Freshman Nicolle Trivino joins Forrest at the top with five goals on the season, while Bre Babiarz and Sabrina Hosner match Forrest with a team-high four assists. With two goals last week, Aimee Briand joins teammates Hannah Rose and Chanel Tvergyak with six total points on four goals and a pair of helpers.

Sophomore Rylie Wills and freshman Alexis Kalm have both shared time between the pipes. Wills leads the unit with a .917 save percentage and enjoyed a career-high 54 saves in a 1-1 stalemate at No. 8 Connecticut College earlier this month. Kalm has gotten the nod in the last two contests for Castleton, owning a .906 save percentage and a team-best 3.07 goals against average on the season. The freshman earned her first career win in a 2-1 victory over No. 9 UMass-Boston in November.

The University of New England (6-9-2) comes into the contest still searching for its first home win of 2017, currently holding an 0-1-1 record at Harold Alfond Forum in January. After knocking off Plymouth State, 4-3, on Jan .14, the Nor'easters have dropped back-to-back NEHC contests to fall into a tie with Castleton for seventh in the conference at 3-5-1. 

Gabby Crugnale leads the offense with 11 points on seven goals and four assists. She has been exceptional with the extra attacker this season, ranking second in the NEHC with five power play goals. Annie Mullen and Shannon Smith both enter the contest with 10 points to date, while Mary Wirth has dished out a team-high eight assists.

Senior Sydney Helmbrecht and freshman Caty Flagg have both earned quality time in net for the Nor'easters, with Helmbrecht leading the way with a .906 save percentage and a 2.90 goals against average to go with her 6-7-1 record in 14 starts. Flagg holds the upper hand in conference contests, however, allowing 2.96 goals per game and holding a .900 save percentage in five games played.

The two teams have faced off in every season dating back to 2013, with the Spartans holding a 5-1-0 overall record. The Spartans last traveled to Harold Alfond Forum in 2015, when they came away with the 2-1 victory.

Southern Maine (5-11-0) enters the weekend tied for 10th in the NEHC with a 3-6-0 record in conference action. After back-to-back conference losses to New England College and Plymouth State, the Huskies topped Nichols last Saturday, 4-0.

Southern Maine ranks second in the conference in penalty minutes, averaging over six infractions per game.  The shorthanded unit has been a strong point this season, however, as the team ranks only behind Franklin Pierce in the conference with a 91.8 percent penalty-kill rate.

Two Huskies have posted double-digit scoring this season, with senior Katie Couture leading the team with 11 points on a team-high six goals and five assists. Sophomore Alex Mitchell has also posted six goals, while adding four assists for a 10-point total. Katie Nolan has been a force on the offensive end as well, handing out a team-high six assists to go with two goals.

The Huskies have distributed time amongst two net minders in Courtney Davis and Britney Evangelista, with the latter earning the edge with nine starts on the season. Despite just a 2-7-0 clip, Evangelista has posted stingy numbers across the board, allowing two goals or less in seven of her nine starts this season. She leads the team with a 1.87 goals against average and a .938 save percentage, while Davis made 18 saves to pick up her first shutout of the season in the win over Nichols.

This will be the 26th meeting between the two programs, with Castleton holding the all-time edge, 12-10-3. The Spartans are unbeaten in their last five matchups against Southern Maine, outscoring the Huskies 15-5 in the process.