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Castleton Spartans

Men's Hockey Battles Back For 2-2 Tie with Potsdam

Men's Hockey Battles Back For 2-2 Tie with Potsdam

RUTLAND, Vt. – After a slow start offensively in the first two periods, the Castleton men's hockey team rallied back in the third period to earn a point with a 2-2 draw against SUNY Potsdam Tuesday night at Spartan Arena.

With the tie, Castleton moves to 5-8-2 on the season. Potsdam is now 7-5-3.

Ryan Mulder was spectacular between the pipes, finishing with a season-high 36 saves on the night to move to 4-2-2 overall. Jimmy Burns collected two assists behind goals from Jacob Erwin and Ryan O'Toole. Ryan O'Malley also dished out an assist.

Mike Sweeney and Jon Venter scored for Potsdam, with assists credited to Tyler Young, Ben Mariano, and Jacob Juron. Nate Skidmore was strong in goal for the Bears, collecting 26 saves of his own to move to 3-0-2 on the year.

Potsdam controlled possession over the first two periods and outshot the Spartans, 28-11, after 40 minutes of play. After Mulder came up big with 15 saves in the first period, the Bears broke a scoreless tie midway through the second. Young threw a puck on net from the top of the left circle and Sweeney benefited from his own rebound to finally sneak one past Mulder and give the visitors a 1-0 advantage at the 9:02 mark.

In desperate need of a momentum swing, Mulder stood tall the rest of the period, highlighted by a key save on a penalty shot by Brett Horn to hold the score at 1-0 heading into the third period.

Castleton came out strong in the third period and doubled up Potsdam in shots, 14-7. Erwin tied the game at 1-1 with his third goal of the season early on a breakaway opportunity. Burns stretched an outlet pass to Erwin, who split the defense and skated 1-on-1 with the goaltender before lifting a shot short side to the back of the net just 3:02 into the third period.

Potsdam responded, however, regaining a one-goal lead when Venter lifted a shot from the left faceoff circle through traffic in front and behind Mulder at the 12:43 mark of the final period. Mulder dove to get a piece of the initial shot, but Venter was there to give the Bears the 2-1 lead back down the stretch.

Trailing by the same score in the final two minutes, Potsdam's Kyle Thacker was sent off for cross-checking, giving the Spartans a much-needed power play opportunity. After Mulder raced to the bench, the Spartans cashed in on the 6-on-4 advantage. Cycling the puck in the offensive zone, O'Malley sent a low shot on net from the left point. O'Toole was in front and tipped it past Skidmore with just 29 seconds remaining in regulation.

Potsdam came out strong in overtime but Mulder kept the Bears at bay. Castleton came away with the best opportunity in the extra period as the Spartans had a 2-on-0 breakaway. Glenn Wiswell passed across and then received the pass back, but his one-timer from the left post was saved by a diving Skidmore to keep the score 2-2. That proved to be the final chance of the game, as it ended in a 2-2 tie.

Potsdam held an advantage in shots, 38-28, but finished 0-for-5 on the power play. The Spartans won the faceoff battle, 39-28, and finished 1-for-5 with the man advantage.

Castleton will return to action Friday when it travels to New England College for a New England Hockey Conference contest at 7 p.m.