Two weeks ago, the Castleton men’s hockey team was in the midst of a streak that had it receiving points in eleven out of twelve games. The streak was continued through last weekend with complete 60-minute efforts versus Southern Maine and University of New England. The Spartans pasted both of these opponents with scores of 8-1 and 9-1. Both games were close to being sealed by the end of the first period with the Spartans being up by three goals in each game. As the final buzzer sounded in each contest, the Spartans had put up fifty plus shots on goal and many of them resulted in pucks tickling the twine.
The point streak, though, was then halted abruptly by a strong Norwich opponent. Norwich came ready to play, and add to their stellar 17-1-4 record. The Spartans were out played for most of the game, although the first period could be pointed to as the reason for the loss as the Cadets led by a score of 3-0.
“In the first period we were watching. We seemed intimidated by them and played shaky,” coach Alex Todd said of his team’s sluggish start.
The game wasn’t a complete waste as the Spartans turned things around for the remaining forty minutes, playing close second and third periods. But it wasn’t enough to beat Norwich, and the Spartans fell 6-2
“It is very upsetting sitting here and wondering what could have been if we played a full sixty minutes of hockey,” Todd said.
Coach Jamie Herrington agreed with Todd about the loss.
“It was a tough loss for us but we just have to stay focused now,” Herrington said.
The Spartans looked to rebound from the loss by traveling to St. Michaels College in nearby Burlington, Vt. on Feb. 13.
The Spartans looked as though they had showed up to play hockey this time, skating to a 3-1 lead at the end of the first period. The success was short lived, though, as the Spartans stopped moving their feet in the second period, and it cost them. St. Mike’s put three in the net and left the second period leading 4-3. That’s where the score remained for the rest of the afternoon.
“We came out strong today, but we couldn’t finish the game. It seemed like a bit of a hangover from yesterday,” freshman defenseman Brad Barber said, referring back to the Norwich loss.
The loss at St. Michaels means that the Spartans have lost back-to-back games for the first time since Dec. 5 and 11.
“We played a bit out of our game this weekend, and it hurt us. We need to get back to doing the little things and limit our mistakes,” said leading-goal-scorer Stuart Stefan.
Todd wants his team to have a normal week of practice this week to prepare for a couple of big games next weekend.
“At this point in the season it doesn’t do any good to change anything. Hopefully the guys bring the enthusiasm next weekend and come ready to play,” Todd said with the look of disappointment in his eyes.
The Spartans, who sit fourth in the Eastern College Athletic Conference East standings with a record of 7-7-3 in the conference, look to rebound next weekend against Williams College and Middlebury College in the comfort of Spartan Arena. The men in green sit only two points behind Babson and St. Anselm, so the points will be huge next week.