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Mitch's Sports Report: Castleton Women's Alpine Skier Helps Save A Life On West Mountain

The Montreal Canadiens took on old friend PK Subban and the Nashville Predators in a visit to Music City last night, and Subban helped defeat his former squad in Nashville's 3-1 win.

Subban made a nice pass to the newly acquired Brian Boyle, who scored his first goal since joining Nashville, one-timing a slap shot off that feed from Subban midway through the third period, and Viktor Arvidsson added Nashville's third goal a couple of minutes later.

Tomas Tatar scored for Montreal, who hadn't lost back to back games since early January before last night. Pekke Rinne made 34 saves in net for Nashville and Carey Price stopped 32 shots for Montreal in the loss.

The Habs did welcome a new player of their own, trading a fourth round draft pick to the LA Kings for forward Nate Thompson, who's got four goals and two assists in 53 games with the Kings this year.

The Toronto Maple Leafs increased their second place lead in the Atlantic conference to three points over the Boston Bruins with a 6-3 win against the Golden Knights in Las Vegas. Auston Matthews scored twice for the Leafs while recording his 100th career NHL point.

In college women’s basketball the Norwich Cadets got off to a good start against St. Joseph's College of Maine in Northfield last night.

The Cadets built up a 22-14 lead in the first quarter, but it was all Monks after that, as St. Joseph's pulled away for a 72-49 win. Mary Casamassa and Riley Bennett led Norwich with 13 points apiece. They play their final home game of the season tomorrow against the Rivier Raiders.

Now we turn to some news from the slopes at West Mountain Resort in Queensbury, New York, where a number of men's and women's teams were competing in the Eastern Collegiate Ski Conference a little over a week ago.

Castleton University was one of those teams, and the women came in first, securing their second straight ECSC McConnell division title, but that wasn't even close to being the most important win of the day.

Instead, it was what Castleton's Kylie Mackie and Linn Ljungemo did, helping to save the life of a skier from Babson College named Victor Wiacek.

Wiacek was making his run when he lost an edge. I spoke with the 23 year old Ljungemo, a native of Sweden, about what happened next. She and Mackie were working as gatekeepers when Wiacek crashed right in front of them.

"His ski comes undone from his boot, and he happens to land on it", says Ljungemo. "So the ski just tears up his leg, and cuts through an artery."

Ljungemo went on to describe the severity of the injury when she and Mackie ran over to attend to Wiacek, along with Mackie's Dad, who immediately shouted for more help and began applying pressure to Wiacek's leg.

"It was a very near-death experience", as Ljungemo describes it. "There was just blood everywhere, gushing out." As chance would have it, Ljungemo had taken an Emergency Care class at Castleton the previous semester, just because she thought it would be "fun and interesting" to know how to handle an emergency situation, and that training paid off as she helped tie two tourniquets to Wiacek's leg.

Ljungemo says it took between five and ten minutes for mountain emergency crews to get to the scene, and doctors later told her that if she and Mackie hadn't been there so quickly, they aren't sure whether Wiacek would have been OK.

The Babson skier is doing fine now, according to Ljungemo, and while she laughed when I told her she saved a life that day, adding "I don't think I did a lot", she admits hearing from medical professionals that her care was critical makes her happy.  

There's more skiing this weekend, hopefully nothing as dramatic as what happened at West Mountain, but some of the best and bravest ski jumpers from around the world will compete at the Harris Hill Ski Jump event at Harris Hill in Brattleboro. The Fred Harris Tournament takes place  Sunday as jumpers compete for a leg of the Winged Ski Trophy.

There will also be Jumping & Nordic Combined Men’s & Women’s classes at the Hill on Saturday in a U.S. Cup event.

Ski jumpers will be flying like birds off ramps that will have many of them covering more than 300 feet in the air. It should be quite a show.  


A graduate of NYU with a Master's Degree in journalism, Mitch has more than 20 years experience in radio news. He got his start as news director at NYU's college station, and moved on to a news director (and part-time DJ position) for commercial radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard. But public radio was where Mitch wanted to be and he eventually moved on to Boston where he worked for six years in a number of different capacities at member station a Senior Producer, Editor, and fill-in co-host of the nationally distributed Here and Now. Mitch has been a guest host of the national NPR sports program "Only A Game". He's also worked as an editor and producer for international news coverage with Monitor Radio in Boston.
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