Spartans Fall Late in Rutland Herald Invitational Opener

Spartans Fall Late in Rutland Herald Invitational Opener

RUTLAND, Vt. – The Castleton men's hockey team held a large edge in both shots and face-off wins, but Western New England had the edge where it mattered most as the Spartans fell 1-0 in the opening round of the Rutland Herald Invitational on Friday night at Spartan Arena.

Castleton (3-5-1) will face Brockport in tomorrow's consolation game at 3:45 p.m., while Western New England (3-4-1) will take on Tufts for the 2016 Rutland Herald Invitational Championship at 7 p.m. Both games will be broadcast live via NSN Sports.

Wyatt Pickrell made 27 saves without allowing an even-strength goal for the Spartans, but it was not enough as the power-play unit conceded a late goal. Brock Labelle had numerous chances for Castleton, putting nine shots on goal in the contest, but he was unable to convert.

Kevin Gollmer picked up his first career shutout, stopping all 33 shots he faced in the victory for the Golden Bears. Matt O'Dea scored the only goal in the game, notching the game-winner with a man advantage with just more than five minutes left in the contest.

The Spartan offense came out heavy in the opening period, putting 12 shots on goal to Western New England's three. Both goalies stood tall, sending the game to the second period still knotted at 0-0.

Western New England's offense picked up in the second frame, putting an astounding 18 shots on net. Pickrell was up for the test, stopping all 18—including eight saves with his team on the penalty kill. Gollmer matched Pickrell shot-for-shot, making 10 saves of his own in the middle period.

Both teams came out in the third period in search of the first goal, though neither defense budged until the final six minutes. After a holding penalty on the Spartans, Western New England worked the puck deep into the Spartan zone. Pickrell made three saves in the opening part of the penalty kill, but the persistence of the Golden Bears' attackers would not be denied. Following a save by Pickrell on a shot by Andrew Green from the left side, O'Dea found his way to the far post and knocked the puck out of a scrum and into the net, tallying the only goal of the game to give his team a 1-0 lead. Castleton pulled its goalie with 57 seconds remaining in favor of an extra attacker, but it was for naught as the contest ended with the score still 1-0.

The Spartans led 33-28 in the shot department while also winning the face-off battle, 43-34. Western New England was 1-for-5 on the power play, with Castleton going 0-for-3.