After a tough loss at home to Skidmore last week, Castleton State College came back to defeat New England College in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference quarterfinal playoffs on its home ice at Spartan Arena.
In their final regular season home game, the Spartans fell short 1-0 to Skidmore College after defeating them 9-4 the night before.
It was the first time the Spartans were shut out since the 2009-2010 season.
The game went scoreless until 3:40 into the third period when Skidmore’s Aaron Beck scored on Castleton goalkeeper Seth McNary while Castleton was shorthanded due to a holding penalty the Spartans’ Brad Barber.
Castleton couldn’t get the puck in the net as Skidmore’s Colin Bessey made 20 saves.
McNary, meanwhile, made 22 for Castleton.
On Feb 25, the Spartans defeated NEC in a close game by a score of 2-1 to advance to the ECAC semi-final game.
After 10:29 in the second period, Castleton’s Brad Barber scored his first ever career goal on a hard slap shot from the point, going right over goalkeeper Shawn Sirman’s shoulder and right into the back of the net, giving them the 1-0 lead.
With less than a minute left in the second period, junior Dan bell scored on a deflection of a slap shot by teammate Ryan Delorme, giving Castleton the 2-0 lead.
The Spartans couldn’t shut out NEC as they scored just four minutes into the third period on a power-play goal while Castleton was down by two men due to an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Barber and a roughing penalty by Justin Alonzo.
The Spartans remained strong defensively and they didn’t allow any more points from NEC, ending the game at 2-1.
NEC goalkeeper Shawn Sirman allowed two goals while making 35 saves total. Freshman goalkeeper Thomas Shelley made 17 saves total, getting the win for the Spartans.
The victory will send the Spartans to the ECAC semi-final game for the second consecutive year.
This is only the second time the Spartans have made it this far in conference playoffs.
Castleton is currently 18-6-2 and will enter as the second seed. They will be facing Skidmore College, who is 12-12-2, next Saturday, March 3 at Norwich University at 7 p.m.