RUTLAND, Vt. – The Castleton men's hockey team played to a tough, 2-2, overtime draw against New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) foe Babson on Friday night at Spartan Arena.
The Spartans move their record to 7-8-3 overall and 6-4-1 in NEHC play with the result, while Babson is now 9-7-2 (6-4-1 NEHC).
Nick Kovalchik and Bart Moran had the Spartan goals in the contest, with Kovalchik's coming shorthanded in the second period and Moran's coming on the power play in the final frame of regulation. Both goals gave Castleton a lead for the time being. Ryan Mulder stopped a season-high 30 shots in the tie, moving his record between the pipes to 6-4-1.
Bill Seligman and Michael Phillips had the goals for Babson, both of which came in a pivotal third period. Matt Pompa stopped 30 shots for the Beavers in goal, putting his record at 4-5-1 on the year.
After a thrilling yet scoreless back-and-forth first period, the two sides came out of the gates hot in the second frame. The Beavers opened up with nearly a minute of power-play time after a late penalty on the Spartans carried over, but Castleton killed it off to get back to even strength. A Babson penalty with just less than five minutes left in the second stanza gave Castleton its second power play of the game, but Babson shut down the man advantage despite multiple scoring chances. Castleton again took a penalty late in the period, but this time the Spartans cashed in shorthanded. With just 26 seconds to play before intermission, Caleb Fizer forced a turnover at his own blue line before chipping it up to boards to himself to create a 2-on-1 chance with Kovalchik. As he reached the right face-off circle, Fizer sent a pass to Kovalchik at the far post who chipped it in to give the Spartans a 1-0 lead heading to the final 20 minutes of action.
Once again the two teams skated evenly to open the third period, but Babson found an equalizer at the 7:29 mark of the frame. Matt McMorrow and Joe DiPietto worked the puck around behind the net, before Seligman buried it in close to draw the game level at 1-1.
The Spartans had an answer, however, as the Beavers took a costly interference penalty at the midway point of the third. As he has done all season long, Moran came through with the man advantage on helpers from Trevor Hanna and Brock Labelle to make it 2-1 in favor of the home team. The goal was Moran's eighth, most on the team, while Labelle picked up his team-leading 10th assist on the score.
With 2:15 to play in regulation, Babson pulled its goalie in favor of an extra attacker. Five seconds later, the squad got a whistle in the Castleton zone and called timeout. Castleton won the ensuing face off and rifled the puck around the boards, springing Fizer on a breakaway towards the empty net. As Babson pressured, he let go a shot that missed just wide of the net, keeping the Spartan advantage at one goal.
Babson continued to pressure, and Castleton was forced to ice the puck with 52 seconds to play. After a Spartan timeout, Babson drew the game level once more. The Beavers won the ensuing face off, as Matt Brazel moved the puck to Tommy Munichiello. Munichiello quickly worked the puck to Phillips at the point, who let go a one-timer that found the top corner of the net before Mulder could get across the crease, tying the game at 2-2 and forcing overtime.
Castleton controlled play in the overtime period, outshooting the Beavers 4-1, but neither netminder cracked as the game ended in a 2-2 draw.
Shots were even at 32 a side, while the Spartans won 41 of the 77 draws in the contest. The Spartans were also effective with the special teams units, as they were 1-for-3 on the power play and killed all four power-play chances for the opposition.
Castleton is back in action on Saturday at 4 p.m. against UMass-Boston at Spartan Arena.