MANCHESTER, N.H. – Despite giving up a two-goal advantage in the third period, the Castleton men's hockey team pulled out its first overtime victory of the season, 3-2, as Otis Goldman scored the game-winning goal with just 30.8 seconds remaining in the overtime period against Saint Anselm on Saturday afternoon.
The win is Castleton's fourth consecutive victory, improving it to 7-8-2 on the season and 6-4-0 in New England Hockey Conference play. Saint Anselm drops to 4-6-1 in NEHC action and 7-7-2 overall this season.
Goldman's game winner was his third of the season and second in Castleton's last three games. The rookie was in the right place at the right time, burying a rebound after an initial shot from Brock Labelle.
Caleb Fizer and Ryan O'Toole also added goals for Castleton, while Kurt Johnson, Ryan Smith, Nathan Cory and Labelle had assists. Ryan Mulder came one save shy of his season high in the win, stopping 28 of the 30 shots he faced to move his record to 6-4-1 on the season.
Trey Aiello and Bryan Green tallied the goals for Saint Anselm, both of which came in the final period of regulation. Shane Joyce made 24 saves in the game but it was enough as his record fell to 6-5-2 this season.
After a scoreless opening frame that featured multiple scoring chances for both sides, the Spartans came out in search of the games first goal. Fizer produced that score at the 13:44 mark of the middle period, collecting a pass from Johnson in the neutral zone and skating in on a breakaway. The sophomore made a move to his forehand before beating the netminder for the 1-0 lead.
Saint Anselm had a golden look to tie it after some solid puck movement near the end of the period, but Brendon Kerrigan whiffed on a one-timer, sending play back in the other direction. With less than a minute to play in the period, O'Toole set up for an offensive zone face off, and pulled the trigger on a shot as the puck was dropped. The junior connected, beating Joyce underneath the pads to send the Spartans into the second intermission up 2-0.
The third period began as a back-and-forth affair much like the first two periods. With less than 12:00 showing on the clock, Saint Anselm worked the puck deep. As Castleton tried to clear the puck, the Hawks worked hard to keep it in, eventually finding Aiello down low who beat Mulder to halve the Spartan lead to 2-1.
The Spartans picked up a power-play chance with 8:08 to play in the game, as Kevin Rosset was taken down in the corner on a boarding penalty. The opportunity didn't produce a goal, but it allowed the Spartans to milk two more minutes off the clock while preserving its lead for the time being. The Hawks committed another boarding penalty with just 3:45 left in the game, but its penalty kill unit was strong once more, killing off the opportunity with no damage done by Castleton.
Fresh off the penalty kill, the Hawks tied the game as the two teams came back to 5-on-5 hockey. After collecting the puck on the left boards, Green skated the puck back towards to face-off dot and let go a wrist shot that beat Mulder over his shoulder and under the bar, knotting the game at 2-2.
After the two teams traded scoring opportunities early in the overtime period, Castleton worked the puck in deep with less than a minute to play. Cory battled a Hawks defender for possession, eventually working the puck to Labelle below the left face-off dot. Labelle sent a wrist shot on goal, but it was saved by Joyce before trickling out into the open crease. Goldman was ready and waiting, sliding it in to put the Spartans on top with less than 31 seconds remaining, sealing the victory.
Both teams struggled on the power play, as Castleton went 0-for-4 and Saint Anselm 0-for-2. The Hawks held a 30-27 edge in shots, as well as a 35-33 edge in face-off wins in the contest.
Castleton is back in action at Spartan Arena next weekend, hosting Babson on Friday night at 7 p.m. and UMass.-Boston on Saturday at 4 p.m.