The Castleton men’s hockey team gave up two quick goals that only led to nine more in their Eastern College Athletic Conference East Championship game against Norwich University, ending their monumental season.
Starting in net for Castleton was freshman Thomas Shelley, who let two goals through in just the first three minutes of play. Colin Mulvey and Shane Goreman scored the Norwich Cadets first two goals.
After just 2:56 of play, Shelley was relieved by teammate Erick Cinotti. Quickly thereafter, Norwich scored it’s third, by Pier-Olivier Cotnoir.
The second period was crucial for Norwich, as they scored their next four goals, by Kyle Thomas, Cotnoir and two by Travis Janke. Castleton broke up Norwich’s momentum on an even strength goal by Dan Bell.
Norwich scored two more in the second period by Tory Allan and Igor Martinez.
Castleton senior Seth McNary was sent in to relieve Cinotti in net during the second period.
Shelley returned to the game in the third period and finished the game in net only letting in two more goals which came from Owen Carpino and Blake Forkey, ending the final score at 11-1.
Shelley made 12 total saves in net, while Cinotti made six and McNary made five. Parker Carroll made a total of five saves in net for Norwich, while Chris Czarnota played for the final nine minutes for the cadets, making one save.
The Spartans were outshot 34-14.
“It’s not the way we had in mind going into (this game). It sucks,” said senior captain Lindsey Gullett. “We had so much fan support, but from an athlete’s standpoint – you’re only as good as your last game.”
“I’m just really confused, but that game just shows how much work goes into being a top-10 team,” said head coach Alex Todd.
This year, the Spartans finished their season at 19-7-2, making it into the ECAC East finals for the first time in the program’s history.
“We had a lot of ups and downs. At the end of the day, through, we made it further than we ever had before,” said Gullett. “Hopefully all the returning guys will use this loss as fuel for the fire next year.”
Todd agreed with his captain’s thoughts
“Based on the last game, I expect the guys to be humble and determined,” Todd said. “I hope they have focus, determination and desire from that last game.”
Castleton senior Tyler Atkins and junior Dan Bell were both named to the all tournament team, while Cotnoir was named tournament MVP.
Atkins was also the all time scoring defensive player at Castleton, scoring more goals than any other defenseman in Castleton history. He also played in more games than any other defensive player.
“Tyler was an amazing force on the ice. It’s going to be hard next season, because you just can’t recruit that kind of leadership.
Todd also had nothing but praise for Bell.
“Dan Bell really stepped up this year. He came in after the summer in great shape, and I think he was really confident because of the shape he was in. I hope he stays consistent next season,” Todd said.
However, even with strong players like Bell and Atkins, the Spartans still had their weaknesses.
“We didn’t have a strong defense. We had good goaltending, but poor defense,” Todd explained. “We just weren’t physical on defense at all. We didn’t put enough pressure on other guys, which resulted in other teams having good chances and having good energy.”
Todd, along with the rest of his players, hopes to improve on their weaknesses for next season and not make the same mistakes they did this past season.
“In the end, we had strong offense. However, it’s the defense that wins championships, and our poor defense was exposed.”