After squandering a 4-2 lead in the third period to lose to Saint Anselm on Nov. 14, the Castleton men’s ice hockey team bounced back the following night with a 5-2 win over the New England College Pilgrims.
The Spartans broke a scoreless game with a goal from Brock Labelle, assisted by Corbin Marcotte and Braeden Moffat, with just over four minutes to play in the first.
The Spartans held the 1-0 lead until New England College’s Chris Santello found twine almost exactly a full period later.
Castleton played at a higher level against the Pilgrims then they did against Saint Anselm.
“Today’s compete level was a lot better,” said Spartans head coach Stephen Moffat. “We won a lot of 50/50 battles and loose pucks in the corner.”
The game remained tied 1-1 through two periods of play, but the Spartan’s power played a big role entering the third period.
Senior defensemen Brian Greene answered the bell for the Spartans with a power play goal giving them the 2-1 edge with 15:40 remaining in the game.
The teams battled in the corners for a few more minutes until Spartan freshmen Kurt Johnson scored and unassisted goal providing a more comfortable lead for the Spartans with 12:50 to go.
But the Pilgrims wouldn’t lie down. Aaron Madsen responded with a goal of his own 21 seconds later, cutting the lead back to one goal at 3-2.
With just under eight minutes to play in the game, fans were biting their nails as the Spartans were clinging to a one-goal lead.
That’s when senior defensemen Tyler Gaudry essentially crushed all hope for the Pilgrims with a power play goal in a clutch moment padding the lead 4-2.
Trevor Hanna iced the victory with an open net goal with just over a minute left in the third.
Speed and “rushing the puck” are strengths of the Spartans’ according Moffat, explaining that rushing refers to players pushing the puck toward opponents net at a very fast pace.
Moffat said the team’s biggest weakness right now is maintaining consistency during games and from game-to-game, but today that wasn’t the case.
With the win, Castleton improves to 3-2 overall and 3-1 in conference play. The Spartans will hit the road Friday Nov. 21 to play University of Massachusetts-Boston for their next game.