The shot had been redirected into the net and at first glance appeared to be a goal. After the referee declared it was a stick above the shoulders call, the momentum of the game fell back into the Spartans’ gloves. After dodging the bullet of the disallowed goal, Castleton rallied for the second time in two days. This comeback however, would end in success for the Spartans. The Castleton men’s hockey team hosted Bowdoin College on Friday and Colby College on Saturday. The Spartans held Colby off until late in the third. The Mules struck back and tied the score 2-2, four minutes after a Stuart Stefan goal. In overtime, Stefan found the net for a second time, putting home a power play goal.
Stefan was named first star of the game and led all scorers with both of his goals. Steve Culbertson contributed two assists to the win. Evan Romeo scored Castleton’s first goal. Romeo and Omar Pacha returned to play Saturday after sitting out Friday night’s contest.
“It was tough to sit out, you want to be in there,” Pacha said about missing the match against Bowdoin. Also reflecting on the overtime win Saturday, Pacha said, “It was great, we really needed the two points. It was a conference game, so it was a huge two points.”
Pacha assisted on Stefan’s first goal. Spartan goalie Jay Seals earned his first victory of the season against Colby, his 14 save performance earned him the third star of the game.
Friday night was a different story for Castleton, though, as the Spartans felt the anguish of a three goal rally being turned into a L next to Bowdoin on the schedule. The first period ended with a grim outlook for the Spartans, but the negative vibes would not reach the locker room.
“It was still pretty positive,” Kirk Bolduc said of the atmosphere during the first intermission. “We knew we were playing well, and we just made three mistakes.”
The positive atmosphere put the Castleton offense in a groove, scoring three unanswered goals of its own. Eric Curtis tallied the first goal, putting away a saved rebound shot by Dan Mauriello. The Spartans found its second offensive opportunity when Nick Westcott brought Bowdoin’s lead down to one. Westcott sniped the high glove side, immediately drowning the Rutland Field House with a verbal explosion from the student section.
With just under 10 minutes remaining in the second period Marlin Froese evened things up at 3-3 on a power play goal. Froese took advantage of the man up scenario, and put a Culbertson pass in the back of the net. Bowdoin struck back a half minute later, scoring the game winner above the block of Seals. An empty net goal with 27 seconds still on the clock capped things off for regulation; the Spartans lost 5-3.
Despite the three goal deficit going into the second period, the Spartans were controlling the physical aspect of the game. Whenever the puck reached the corner, a storm of white jerseys would play the body, and eventually win the puck.
“Our game is physicality, you want to stay within your system,” said John Lafrance explaining the Spartans’ style of play.
The Spartans will next be in action when they visit Plymouth State Dec 13.