Men's Hockey Season Comes to End with 2-1 Double OT Loss at Norwich

Men's Hockey Season Comes to End with 2-1 Double OT Loss at Norwich

NORTHFIELD, Vt. – Another chapter in the historic Battle of Vermont rivalry was written on Saturday night, and this time the nationally-ranked Norwich Cadets came back to defeat the Castleton men's hockey team, 2-1, in double overtime in the New England Hockey Conference Quarterfinals at Kreitzberg Arena.

Castleton sees its season come to an end with a 7-16-3 overall record. No. 12/12 Norwich advances to the NEHC semifinals and improves to 18-6-2 after knocking the Spartans out of the playoffs for the seventh consecutive year.

Ryan Mulder featured the Spartans with one massive save after another as Norwich outshot Castleton, 51-8, in the contest. The senior co-captain finished with a career-high 49 saves and will go down as Castleton's all-time saves leader with 2,005 career saves. Dom Kuziak netted the lone Spartan goal unassisted in the first period.

After 83 minutes of high-intensity action, the game-winning goal was scored on a fast break. TJ Dockery sent a pass from his own goal line all the way to Todd Jackson at the Spartans' blue line, where he skated in alone and lifted a short-side wrist shot inside the right post 3:07 into double overtime to give the defending national champions the victory.

The Spartans entered the tournament as the eighth seed but were looking for the monumental upset over top-seeded Norwich after leading for nearly two periods. For the second time in as many games at Kreitzberg Arena this season, Castleton struck first with a first-period goal. Kuziak forced a turnover in the neutral zone and took it himself into the Cadets' zone before taking one stride in and drilling a wrist shot through the five-hole of Norwich goaltender Tom Aubrun. Kuziak's second career goal gave the Spartans a 1-0 lead, which held at the first intermission as Mulder stopped all 13 shots he faced.

Mulder picked up his team once again in the second as Castleton was unable to sustain pressure in the Cadets' zone. Ryan O'Toole came away with the best opportunity for the Spartans late in the period on the power play but his redirected shot from Jimmy Burns in front of the net shifted just wide. Jordan Hall looked to tie it after collecting a blocked shot and lifting a wrist shot from point blank but Mulder was there to make one of his several big saves. Mulder turned aside all eight shots he faced in the frame once again to protect the Spartans' 1-0 lead at the second intermission.

Norwich forced heavy pressure in the third period and finally found the equalizer with 8:29 left in regulation. Coby Downs fed a pass to Cam Beecy near center ice and Beecy skated in on a 2-on-2 break before sending a wrist shot from the slot. Mulder nearly made another highlight-reel save but the high shot deflected off his glove and trickled over the goal line to tie the game at 1-1. Castleton was held to just two shots on goal in the final frame but Mulder was strong to send the game to overtime.

Neither side was able to net the game-winner in the first overtime, with Mulder once again stealing the show. 12 more saves from the Spartan netminder sent the game to double overtime as Castleton was unable to generate a shot on net in the first extra period.

The Spartans were unable to force a shot on net in the second overtime period before Norwich potted the game-winner.

Castleton finished 0-for-3 on the power play and held the Cadets off the board in their single man-advantage opportunity. The Spartans won the faceoff battle, 48-42, led by 20 wins from Trevor Hanna and 14 wins from Ryan Smith.