Men's Hockey Unable to Hold Off NEC, 6-3

Men's Hockey Unable to Hold Off NEC, 6-3

RUTLAND, Vt. – The Castleton men's hockey team scored three unanswered goals to take a brief lead in the second period, but New England College answered to score the final four goals and defeat the Spartans, 6-3, Saturday afternoon in a New England Hockey Conference contest at Spartan Arena.

New England College (4-4-0, 3-3-0 NEHC) held a 2-0 lead after the first period of play. William Riise lifted a shot from the slot over the shoulder of Spartan goaltender Ryan Mulder just under five minutes into the contest. The Pilgrims capitalized on a power play later in the period, with Adam Zollner finishing a tic-tac-toe at the left post to double the visitors' lead at the first intermission.

Castleton (2-5-0, 1-5-0 NEHC) stormed out of the gates in the second period to score three unanswered goals and take a 3-2 lead. Matt Bloomer got the Spartans on the board with his first career goal just 45 seconds into the frame. The freshman took a pass from Caleb Fizer at the point and drove a low slap shot to the back of the net. Less than three minutes later, Trevor Hanna tipped in a shot from Bloomer and the game was all tied up, before Ryan O'Toole gave the Spartans their first lead of the game. Mark Shroyer sent a pass from the left point to the right point, where Troy Taylor threw a puck on net. O'Toole pounced on it at the doorstep to light the lamp and give Castleton a 3-2 advantage at 11:03 of the second.

New England College took back over from there, scoring the game-tying goal late in the second and tallying three goals in the third period. The Spartans came away with chances, but Carlos Fornaris registered an empty-net goal in the final minute to secure the 6-3 victory for the Pilgrims.

Mulder finished with 14 saves but fell to 1-2-0 on the season in net for Castleton. Kyle Shapiro stopped 26 shots on 29 attempts to improve to 3-4-0 overall.

Castleton held an advantage in shots, 29-20, and finished 1-for-6 on the power play. New England College went 1-for-2 on the man advantage. The Spartans won the faceoff battle, 36-31, with Hanna winning 15 of his 25 opportunities.

The Spartans return to action on Friday, Nov. 24, to face King's College in the opening round of the WSYB/Catamount Radio Invitational. Puck drop is slated for 7 p.m. at Spartan Arena.