Brunswick — The Bowdoin College women’s hockey team knocked off the Castleton University Spartans, 5-1, to earn its first victory of the season.

The Polar Bears’ 0-10-1 record heading into the Wednesday matchup at Sidney J. Watson Arena doesn’t tell the whole story of Bowdoin’s season. Bowdoin has been close, with five one-goal losses, with three of those defeats coming in overtime. A Polar Bear team that was averaging just over a goal per game exploded for five to get in the win column.

“We’ve done a lot of station work with shooting in practice,” said Bowdoin coach Marissa O’Neil. “We have great goalies and our team scores a lot in practice. We’ve just kind of been snake-bitten a little bit over the course of the year. We knew that we were going to get the monkey off our back at some point it was just a matter of when.”

The Polar Bears looked like a team hungry to get their first win in the first period, as Bowdoin outshot Castleton, 10-5. Bowdoin’s efforts in the offensive zone led to a power play midway through the period. Allison Britt had a step on her defender down the wing, but was hauled down by Castleton’s Courtney Gauthier, who was sent off for tripping. Bowdoin came away with one scoring chance with the extra skater, as a deflected Tala Glass shot from the point just missed the bottom corner of the cage.

Bowdoin’s efforts were rewarded late in the first period as Jess Cloutier caused a turnover at the red line and found Marissa Fichter streaking into the zone. Fichter had one defender to beat and snapped a shot under the blocker of Castleton starting goaltender Rylie Wills for a 1-0 lead.

Bowdoin extended the lead early in the second period. Cloutier found Glass cutting to the net from the blue line. Glass let a wrist shot go that was tipped over the shoulder of Wills by Miranda Bell just over five minutes into the period.

Castleton got on the board before the midway point of the second, as Sophia Vingi knocked home a second-chance opportunity after Aimee Briand’s shot was blocked, catching Polar Bear goaltender Dani Marquez off-balance on the redirection.

Bowdoin set its single game-high for goals in the second period alone, as the Polar Bears tallied two more times before the break. Glass sent home another blast from the point with just 3:16 remaining in the middle period. It was the second shot Glass released from inside the blue line that led to a goal.

“We definitely focused on that a lot in practice,” said Glass. “I think today the big difference was we weren’t having them blocked and we were getting them through to the net. Having traffic in front was big.”

More scoring

The Polar Bears then capitalized on a power play chance as Briand was whistled for checking with 33 seconds left in the period. Bowdoin only needed 13 seconds of time on the advantage before Bell found Julia Surgenor in the slot for an open shot and 4-1 lead.

“For us it’s kind of putting the pedal to the metal once we get the first one and we had a great second period response,” said O’Neil. “It was slow start to the second, but to start putting those pucks in, I mean we haven’t gotten to three goals all year. That’s the magic number we’ve talked about.”

Angelina Joyce capped off the scoring for Bowdoin 16 seconds into the third period. Joyce beat her defender down the wing and tapped home her own rebound to extend the lead to 5-1.

Bowdoin sealed the victory by dominating possession in the third period, outshooting the Spartans, 13-2. Marquez turned away the only two chances of the period and backstopped the Polar Bears to their first win with 13 saves on 14 shots. Bowdoin outshot the Spartans, 30-14, in the game.

“We’ve been grinding away at it for a while and it feels good,” said Glass. “I think the big difference is we played a full 60 minutes. We were all over them for 60 minutes and we didn’t let up.”

The Spartans fell to 4-10-2. Bowdoin, 1-10-1, picked up the win before entering a final 12-game stretch all within the New England Small College Athletic Conference, where the Polar Bears are off to an 0-4 start after a pair of losses to Colby and Williams.

“This was our last non-conference game,” said O’Neil. “We’re at the midway point. We don’t have a lot of home games coming up, so just to get this win, get some confidence and momentum is absolutely enormous heading into conference play.”

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