With another successful “Pink the Rink” event coming to a close, and Friday’s heartbreaking home loss to fourth-seeded Norwich, it was time for another roller coaster ride with the Castleton women’s hockey team.
However, there appeared to be some light at the end of the tunnel and a glimpse of positive energy on Saturday, Feb. 21st.
It was “Senior Day” at Spartan Arena. Seniors Emily Raber, Tori Pizzuto, Molly Howard, Brie Narodowy, Samantha McNeil, Jessica Spidle, and Paula Stephens took center Ice to be recognized by friends, family, peers and fans.
The Lady-Spartans wanted to finish the regular season off on a high note and that they did, defeating the NEC Pilgrims (1-23-1, 1-15-1 ECAC), who suffered their 16th straight loss of a final of 4-1.
Not only was this the last regular season home game for the seniors, it was also the last regular season home game for Graduate Assistant Coach Katie Kleinendorst, who is in her 2nd season with the team and will be missed by many Spartans both on and off the ice.
Castleton (12-11-2, 7-8-2 ECAC), looked energized and hungry right from the opening face-off and controlled the puck for much of the first two periods; eventually taking a 1-0 lead late into the second period when Anna Daniels slapped one threw the back of the net.
Daniels would later score her team leading 11th goal of the season and senior Tori Pizzuto also scored her fourth goal of the year. The Pilgrims would get one goal back thanks to their ace Amanda McGoldrick’s, but Jessica Cameron’s 20-save effort in goal would once again prove too much for NEC to overcome.
With the rather lop-sided Pilgrim team coming to town, the hype was certainly not for the competiveness of the game between, but was more about the seniors of Castleton Sate College, and being recognized for their outstanding efforts, contributions and sacrifices that they have made over the last 4 years.
“I was very happy to honor our seniors,” Goalie Jess Cameron said. “They put in a lot of work into making Castleton hockey what it is today, and it was nice to get a chance to show that.”
Pizzuto weighed in on the Spartan’s success.
“We played a really solid game the day before and we felt like we had to come out just as strong. Everyone was pumped up and we played as a team,” Pizzuto said. ”We’ve really come together the last few weeks and it’s showing out on the ice.”
Individual accolades may be important for some, but not Pizzuto.
“We all want to score but in the end it doesn’t matter who gets the points as long as we come together for the win,” said Pizzuto.
The lady Spartans will continue to practice and prepare for their first round home playoff game and will wait to see who they will play in their ECAC East Quarterfinals matchup at Spartan Arena on Sat. Feb.28th.