RUTLAND, Vt. – The Castleton men's hockey team came back from a late deficit to earn a 3-3, overtime draw on Saturday night against Skidmore in a New England Hockey Conference matchup at Spartan Arena.
The result was the second-straight tie between the two teams, as they played to a 2-2 draw on Friday evening in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Castleton moves to 8-9-6 overall and 7-5-4 in NEHC play, while Skidmore moves to 8-11-4 overall and 7-6-3 in conference action. Castleton remains one point ahead of Skidmore in the NEHC standings, holding on to the fourth-place spot.
Bart Moran had two third-period goals—including the game-tying goal—in the Spartan victory, and Caleb Fizer added a goal of his own for Castleton. Ryan Mulder stopped 27 shots in the tie, moving into second place all-time in the Castleton record books for career saves.
Quincy Gregg had an assist on each of Skidmore's three goals in the tie, while Mickey Foley, Adam Moodie and Matt Wolf had the Thoroughbred goals. Brandon Kasel made 30 saves in the tie for Skidmore.
After a scoreless opening period, Skidmore had a handful of power-play chances in the second. Four Castleton penalties, including a five-minute major for boarding, resulted in just one Thoroughbred goal, as the Spartans hung tough during a stretch of time in which they played a man down for more than nine minutes straight. With just less than three minutes to go on the major penalty, Skidmore struck for the opening goal of the contest as Moodie redirected a shot by Connor Pelkey that beat Mulder to the wide side. The Spartans killed off the remainder of the penalty, and countered with a chance of their own immediately after. A breakout pass sprung a 2-on-1 chance for Kevin Rosset and Nick Kovalchik, but Rosset's shot was stopped and the threat was cleared, sending the game into the second intermission with the visitors on top, 1-0.
The third period saw even more action than the middle frame, as the two teams combined for nine third-period penalties—including two 5-on-3 chances for the Spartans. Castleton came out of the locker room firing, as Fizer knotted the game at 1-1 just 1:27 into the period on assists from Kurt Johnson and Ryan Smith as he buried a rebound in front. Castleton then took its first lead of the game four minutes later, when Moran's first goal made it a 2-1 game on the power play. Brock Labelle and Patrick Thornton each registered assists on the then go-ahead goal.
Skidmore bounced back, however, scoring two unanswered goals to regain a 3-2 lead. Wolf's power-play goal leveled the score at 2-2 just more than a minute after Moran's goal, and Foley put Skidmore back on top with less than five minutes to play on assists from Pelkey and Gregg.
Moran didn't let the Thoroughbreds spoil Senior Night for the Spartans, leveling the game once more with just 1:26 seconds to play after Castleton pulled its goalie for an extra attacker. The two sides played scoreless for the remainder of the third period, sending the game to overtime for the second straight night.
The overtime period saw more action than a night ago, as Castleton outshot Skidmore, 3-2, though neither goalie broke, as the final horn sounded on the tie.
Castleton held a 36-33 edge in shots on goal in the contest, as well as a 44-40 edge in face-off wins. Skidmore was 2-for-9 on the power play, while Castleton went 1-for-7.
The Spartans wrap up the regular season next weekend on the road, as they travel to Southern Maine on Friday before heading to Daniel Webster on Saturday.