Women's Hockey Edged By UNE, 3-2

Women's Hockey Edged By UNE, 3-2

BIDDEFORD, Maine – Castleton University battled from behind nearly all night and was never able to net the equalizer, as the University of New England hung on for a 3-2 win in New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) women's ice hockey action on Friday night at the Harold Alfond Forum Ice Arena. 

Following the loss, Castleton falls to 4-11-3 on the season and 3-6-1 in NEHC play, while the University of New England improves to 7-9-2, 4-5-1.

Samantha Munroe and Jade Remillard collected goals for Castleton, while Chanel Tvergyak and Jocelyn Forrest each picked up an assist. Freshman Alexis Kalm saddles the loss after making 25 saves in net for the Spartans.

Tatum Gietl led the offense for the University of New England with a goal and an assist on the night, while teammates Marykate Drinkwater and Haley Gorman both notched goals in the win for the Nor'easters. Sydney Helmbrect made 35 saves on 37 shots to improve to 7-7-1 overall between the pipes.

With four power-play chances in the first period, Castleton had its fair share of chances, outshooting the University of New England, 13-6, but the Nor'easters struck first just 46 seconds in. Drinkwater scooped up a loose puck in front of the net and snuck one past Kalm to give her team an early 1-0 lead.

The Spartans had a great opportunity midway through the period when Hannah Rose fired an uncontested wrist shot from the slot, but Helmbrecth was on top of it to secure the Nor'easters lead.

Three minutes later, Rose was active again with a 2-on-1 break alongside line mate Aimee Briand. The two skated down side-by-side, with Briand taking the one-timer near the far circle but it was again for naught as the Nor'easters tacked on another goal to make it 2-0 after the first 20 minutes of play.

A back-and-forth middle frame featured multiple chances on both ends, as each team potted one goal. Munroe struck first for Castleton to cut the deficit in half just over five minutes into the period with her first goal of the season. After picking up a loose puck in her own zone as the Spartans had just successfully killed off a penalty, Munroe raced down the far boards inside the blue line, before making one move to get to the middle and lifting a wrist shot over Helmbrect's left shoulder to make it 2-1 at the 5:24 mark of the period.

As Castleton played aggressive hockey down the stretch of the period, a late penalty proved to be costly as the Nor'easters took advantage like they have all season. Ranked fifth in the NEHC with a 17.1 percent power-play conversion rate, UNE padded its stats when Gietl found the back of the net with just 4:54 left to push the lead back to two goals heading into the locker room.  

The Spartans came out strong in the third period, tallying 14 shots on goal overall. Rose and Tvergyak came away with great chances early on, before Remillard picked up her second goal of the season to once again cut the deficit to one goal just over two minutes in. As a Spartan power-play had just ended, Tvergyak ripped a slap shot from the point that Helmbrect was initially able to collect. Remillard was at the doorstep for the rebound, sending it home to make it 3-2 with just under 18 minutes left.

Despite two power-play opportunities in the period, Helmbrect stood tall as UNE forced great pressure late in the game to prevent Castleton from pulling its goalie in favor of an extra attacker. Briand came away with the best opportunity in the waning seconds of regulation with an open shot from the near circle, but the puck struck just wide as the final buzzer went off.

The Spartans outshot UNE, 37-28, but were unable to take advantage of six power-play chances. The Nor'easters made the difference with their power-play opportunities, capitalizing on one of two woman-advantages that resulted in the game-winning goal.

Castleton will look to bounce back on Saturday with another NEHC contest slated for 1 p.m. at Southern Maine.