Spartans Use Five Unanswered Goals to Down Skidmore

Spartans Use Five Unanswered Goals to Down Skidmore

RUTLAND, Vt.Glenn Wiswell tallied two goals and an assist to lead the Castleton men's hockey team back from an early two-goal deficit as the Spartans defeated Skidmore, 6-3, Saturday afternoon in New England Hockey Conference action at Spartan Arena. 

With the win, Castleton bounces back to salvage a weekend split and improves to 6-10-3 overall and 2-9-1 in conference play. Skidmore falls to 2-16-1 on the season and remains winless in the NEHC at 0-11-1.

The Spartans' fourth line of Wiswell, Dom Kuziak, and Shawn Rainville tallied seven points on three goals and four assists. Kurt Johnson, Dan Fitzgerald, and Ryan O'Toole each netted a goal apiece in the third period to help seal the victory for the Spartans. Ryan Mulder was solid in net, finishing with 22 saves and improving to 5-4-3 on the year.

Skidmore opened an early two-goal lead with a pair of goals from its top line less than four minutes apart. Brandon Borges wristed a shot on net from the left-wing faceoff circle that was deflected by a Spartan defender and went over the shoulder of Mulder 2:58 into the game. Owen Campbell stretched the Thoroughbreds' lead to 2-0 after burying a rebound on a scrum in front of the net. Mulder was able to get a pad on the initial shot, but Campbell raced in to score the second-chance goal at the 6:35 mark.

Castleton came roaring back from there, scoring five unanswered goals to take control of the game. Wiswell sparked the Spartans with his first of the afternoon 8:40 into the opening period on a breakaway after forcing a turnover in the neutral zone, cutting the deficit to 2-1 at the first intermission.

Rainville tied the game at 2-2 after Wiswell and Kuziak peppered Thoroughbred goaltender Brandon Kasel with two hard shots from point blank. Kasel made the initial two saves, but Rainville raced in and found the back of the net for the second time in as many nights at the 7:31 mark of the period. Wiswell was busy again nearly 10 minutes later, potting his own rebound and giving the Spartans their first lead of the game, 3-2, after two periods.

The Spartans continued their momentum into the third period and Johnson extended the lead to 4-2 after firing home a one-timer from the slot on an assist by Caleb Fizer. Fitzgerald blew the game open with a blast from the right point 59 seconds later, with Corey Sikich and Ryan Smith collecting the assists.

Connor Pelkey cut into the deficit on a slap shot from the top of the right-wing circle at the 4:09 mark, but O'Toole potted an empty-netter as Castleton went on to win, 6-3.

Castleton pounded 36 shots on goal and won the battle, 36-25. Both teams went 0-for-4 on the man advantage, while the Spartans won in the faceoff circle, 36-33, led by Trevor Hanna's 17 wins.

Castleton will return to action Friday, Jan. 26, to face UMass-Boston on the road at 7 p.m.