Ashley Pelkey’s lone goal in the second period and Jess Cameron’s outstanding 39-save performance was all the No. 10 Castleton Spartans needed to beat the No. 9 Norwich Cadets for the first time in program history on Jan.16.
With just 6:11 left in the second period freshman Aimee Briand won the face off to Pelkey in the offensive-zone. Pelkey carried the puck around the boards then made a move to the front of the net. Pelkey fired a wrist shot in close, beating Norwich goalie Laurie King to the near post to put the Spartans up 1-0 heading into the second intermission.
“When I started going down the ice the Norwich players just backed off,” said Pelkey on her game-winning goal.
The Spartan’s win was more than just a regular conference win for Pelkey and Cameron.
“We used to play Norwich and get beaten 11-0 before any of us girls got here,” Pelkey said.
“It means a ton for our team. It’s been in the making for years now,” Cameron added
Castleton Head Coach Steph Moberg agreed.
“I think it just shows that we have a really strong group this year. Norwich was a big obstacle in years past,” Moberg said
Cameron recorded her third shutout of the season after stopping a barrage of Cadet shots. Norwich Head Coach Mark Bolding gave Cameron credit where credit is due.
“She’s an excellent goalie, very calm, consistent and obviously a big gamer,” Bolding said. “We knew she was a good goalie but the evidence is continuing to mount as she does well, not only against us but a lot of teams.”
Cameron pushed the credit away saying how communication plays a big role in their overall team defense.
“I think it’s really important for me to let the D know when someone is on them,” Cameron said.
Neither team was budging defensively but both teams continued to fire away at the opposition. Norwich shot the majority of their shots from the blue line and outside the slot. Castleton limited Norwich’s opportunities for second chance looks, which Bolding said was a key factor.
“Even if there is a rebound, you’re going to have to fight through a Castleton defenseman to get there, so I think that was probably the biggest problem. We just didn’t fight hard enough to get our scoring chances cashed in,” Bolding said.
Halfway through the third period Hannah Rose connected with Taylor Steadman on a stretch pass giving her a breakaway. Steadman deked but was stuffed by King, keeping the Cadet’s hopes alive. Norwich fired 13 shots on Cameron in the final frame to no avail.
The Cadets and Spartans face off next on Feb. 19 as they travel to Kreitzberg Arena for the highly anticipated rematch between the two in-state rivals.
The Spartans are currently 13-3-2 overall and 8-1-1 in conference play. Their next home game is Saturday Feb. 6 at 4p.m. against Plymouth State. The Spartans will host their annual Pink the Rink event for breast cancer awareness.