RUTLAND, Vt. - The third-seeded Castleton University women's ice hockey team defeated the sixth-seeded Plymouth State University Panthers, 2-1, in New England Hockey Conference Championship quarterfinal action on Saturday afternoon at Spartan Arena.
Senior Jocelyn Forrest netted the game-winning goal to break a 1-1 deadlock on the power play at the 7:47 mark of the third period. Gathering a rebound, Forrest maneuvered to her backhand before lifting a shot over the shoulder of the Panther goalie.
Castleton improves to 10-13-3, while Plymouth State finishes its season at 7-15-7. The Spartans will face the winner of tonight's Salem State versus Suffolk game next Saturday, Feb. 23. The location and time are dependent on the result.
Falling behind on a Plymouth State shorthanded score in the contest's 15th minute, Castleton responded only a few moments later. Corralling the puck on the near-side boards, Forrest tallied her 10th assist of the season with an entry pass to Aimee Briand. On the doorstep, Briand flicked the puck on a backhand across the crease, clipping the inside of the pipe and sending it across the goal line. The score was number 37 of Briand's career, tying her for second in program history. Senior Jade Remillard also picked up an assist on the tally.
Outshooting Plymouth State by a 14-8 tally in the first period, the teams were nearly even in the second with Castleton holding a 10-9 advantage. During the middle frame, neither team was able to get on the board, promising a dramatic finish.
Castleton killed a five-minute major penalty assessed just 85 seconds elapsed into the third. Moments after the penalty expired, Plymouth State committed a body checking violation to send Castleton to the power play, where the game-winner was scored. The highlight-reel goal came after a Ryanne Mix shot ricocheted to Forrest near the far corner. Briand picked up her second point of the game with an assist.
Castleton subdued the Panther attack throughout the middle portion of the period. The Spartans dominated play in the closing minutes of the contest in maintaining possession in their offensive zone. Plymouth State was unable to pull its goal for an extra attacker until there were eight seconds remaining in regulation.
Rylie Wills started in goal and earned the win while making 26 saves in 60 minutes of play. Panther netminder Emelie Linqvist stopped 33 shots in the loss.