Men's Hockey Suffers Heartbreaking Loss to Skidmore, 3-2

Men's Hockey Suffers Heartbreaking Loss to Skidmore, 3-2

RUTLAND, Vt. – Skidmore netted the game-winning goal with less than four minutes left in regulation after Castleton took a brief lead earlier in the third period, as the Spartans suffered a heartbreaking 3-2 loss to the Thoroughbreds on Friday evening in New England Hockey Conference action at Spartan Arena.

Glenn Wiswell tallied his team-leading eighth goal of the season late in the first period on an assist by Troy Taylor, who dished out two assists to give him 10 on the year. Ryan Smith netted his first goal of the season early in the third period, while Ryan Mulder was strong in net with 26 saves but fell to 6-7-3 with the loss.

Kayser Raei tallied his second goal of the night with 3:50 left to play after Castleton had been forcing heavy pressure in the offensive end. With the game all locked at 2-2 aside, Skidmore broke through as Paul Vella had an initial shot deflected over to the left wing circle. Brandon Borges picked up the loose puck and delivered a quick strike to Raei in the high slot, where he one-timed a low shot through the five hole to seal the 3-2 victory.

Castleton took its first lead of the night early in the third period on Smith's first tally of the season. Taylor found Smith and sent a pass tape-to-tape as the Spartans worked to break it out of their own zone. Smith raced down inside the blue line and fired what looked to be a pass to Kurt Johnson at the doorstep, but the puck deflected off a Thoroughbred defender and beat Skidmore netminder Brandon Kasel to give the Spartans a brief 2-1 lead 4:07 into the third.

Skidmore (6-17-1, 4-12-1 NEHC) answered just 45 seconds later, once again with Raei on the goal from Borges and Vella. This time, Raei roofed a tough-angled shot from the left wing faceoff circle that rattled under the crossbar and hit the inside of the netting to tie the game at 2-2 and set up the Thoroughbreds for the game-winning goal down the stretch.

The Thoroughbreds took an early 1-0 lead with a power-play goal by Matt Wolf 4:28 into the contest. Max Hegge and Tim Allen received assists as Skidmore enforced heavy pressure with the man advantage.

Wiswell got the Spartans on the board late in the first period as Castleton was playing aggressive searching for the equalizer. Taylor slipped a pass to Wiswell from the point, where Wiswell circled in and cranked a shot under the crossbar to draw the game even at 1-1 at the first intermission. It was a back-and-forth battle from there, with the Thoroughbreds issuing the final strike.

Shots finished 29-25 in favor of Skidmore. The Spartans went 0-for-3 on the power play, while Skidmore finished 1-for-7. Castleton won the faceoff battle, 34-27, behind 20 wins from Trevor Hanna.

Castleton (7-14-3, 3-13-1 NEHC) closes out its regular season on Saturday as the Spartans host No. 12/11 Hobart at 4 p.m. at Spartan Arena. Prior to the contest, Castleton will recognize its nine seniors in a brief pre-game ceremony.