NORTHFIELD, Vt. – The Castleton men's hockey team suffered its first loss of the new year on Friday night, falling 3-0 to No. 2 Norwich in a New England Hockey Conference matchup at Kreitzberg Arena.
Ryan Mulder tied his season-high save total set during his last game, stopping 32 shots in the loss for the 7-9-4 (6-5-2 NEHC) Spartans. The top line of Bart Moran, Trevor Hanna and Simon Teodorsson combined for nine shots on the night, but none could find the back of the net as Castleton was shut out. The loss snapped a six-game unbeaten streak for Castleton, as the team entered the night 4-0-2 in its previous six contests.
Tyler Piacentini, Kevin Salvucci and Taeron Lewis all notched goals for the Cadets (18-1-2, 13-1-0 NEHC), while Ty Reichenbach stopped all 22 shots he faced in the win.
Both teams came out skating hard to start the game as play was back-and-forth for the opening minutes of the contest. More than halfway through the period, the Spartans were whistled for a roughing penalty, giving Norwich its first power-play opportunity of the game. The Cadets went to work, cycling the puck in their offensive zone for the better part of the power play time until Piacentini beat Mulder on assists from Cody Smith and Salvucci.
Castleton was whistled for another penalty late in the period, as a big hit at center ice sent Moran to the box on an elbowing penalty. Norwich once again cashed in on the power play, as Salvucci notched a goal of his own with just 1:33 to play in the opening frame.
Play started to get chippy late in the period, as a Spartan penalty directly in front of the Norwich bench resulted in a scrum that ended with a Spartan ejection and a player from each team in the penalty box to round out the opening 20 minutes.
The two teams once again played back-and-forth hockey for a majority of the second frame, with the Spartans getting a trio of power-play opportunities. The team's best look came on its third man advantage of the period, as Ryan O'Malley skated the puck from the right point behind the net. He waited for the goalie to move from his crease to block the pass before sliding it in front to a teammate. A pile of bodies filled the crease, and the Spartans' best chance was cleared away from danger and into the corner. The Cadets later notched their first even-strength goal of the game with just 4:31 to go in the period, improving their lead to 3-0 when Lewis put a stick on a bouncing puck in the crease to knock it into the goal.
Coming into the third period trailing 3-0, the Spartans continued to be denied by Reichenbach, as the senior stopped shot after shot to preserve the home team's shutout. Mulder made a big save of his own, shutting down a breakaway chance by Norwich just four minutes into final frame to keep the deficit at three goals.
Norwich outshot Castleton 35-22 in the contest, while also winning 33 of the game's 64 face-offs. The Cadets went 2-for-4 on the power play, while Castleton's power-play unit was shut down on all four of its chances.