Spartans Grind Out 5-4 Win Over USM

Spartans Grind Out 5-4 Win Over USM

RUTLAND, Vt. – The Castleton men's hockey team overcame multiple one-goal deficits en route to a 5-4 win over New England Hockey Conference opponent Southern Maine at Spartan Arena on Saturday evening.

The Spartans (5-8-2, 4-4-0 NEHC) got out to an early lead, but back-to-back goals by Southern Maine (6-8-0, 3-6-0 NEHC) put it ahead, 2-1, after a period. Castleton battled back to tie it in the second period, but Southern Maine once again pulled ahead of the hosts. After opening the third period tied at 3-3, the Huskies took a 4-3 lead before Castleton tallied back-to-back goals of its own to give the game its final score, 5-4.

Otis Goldman had the biggest score of the game, potting the game-winning goal with just less than six minutes to play in the contest. Trevor Hanna led the way with a three-point night, scoring a goal and adding a pair of assists, while Bart Moran added two goals and Brock Labelle two assists. Mark Shroyer netted his first career goal in the game, and Ryan Mulder made 20 saves in the win, moving his record to 4-4-1 on the season.

Sasha Makarov notched one goal and one assist in the loss for USM, while Cody Braga, Cole Klippenstein and Michael Washington added goals of their own.  Kyle Shapiro stopped 30 shots, but it was enough as he fell to 5-6-0 on the season.

The Spartans jumped out to a quick lead in the opening period, as Moran cleaned up a rebound on the power play just shy of nine minutes into the contest for his first goal of the game. Southern Maine bounced back five minutes later with a goal of its own to level things at 1-1 as Washington buried a pass from Makarov. With time winding down in the opening frame, Braga forced a turnover in front of the Spartan bench and skated in on goal. Falling down with a defender on his back, he let go a shot that beat Mulder underneath his pads to give the visitors a 2-1 lead going into the first intermission.

After the break, the Spartans tied the game, 2-2, midway through the period. Moran notched his second power-play goal of the game, this time from the left circle after a 3-on-2 break. The tied score didn't hold long, as USM's Klippenstein struck less than 30 seconds later, shorthanded, to jump back out to a 3-2 edge. Castleton battled back once more in the period, as Hanna netted a power-play goal after cleaning up a rebound on a shot from the point.

The third period was just as eventful, with the Huskies claiming the lead again, as Jordan Hall found Makarov for another go-ahead goal for the visiting team. The Spartans continued their fight, as Shroyer's first goal came early in the period to tie the score at 4-4. The rookie fielded a pass at the point after a carom off the boards. He lined up a one-timer that deflected off a USM defender before lighting the lamp to level the score.

With time winding down in the contest, each side was searching once more for a go-ahead goal to stave off overtime. Castleton found that goal, as Ryan O'Toole connected with Goldman for the game winner at the 14:16 mark to put the Spartans on top once more. Castleton was tagged with a late penalty, but it killed it off successfully to hold on to the one-goal advantage.

The Spartans held a 35-24 edge in shots, as well as a 37-34 edge in face-off victories. Castleton was successful on three of its eight power-play opportunities, while USM went 0-for-6 with the man advantage.

Castleton resumes play on Friday, January 13 at New England College. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.