Spartans start season at 3-1

The Spartans men’s hockey team beat St. Anselm on Friday night 4-2, but fell to New England College 2-1 on Saturday night to split their pair of games over the weekend. Head Coach Steve Moffat commented on the first loss of the season.
“New England was creating a lot of turnovers and we committed too many penalties,” he said. “The work ethic was there all weekend for us, but we need to work on making smarter decisions and stop committing penalties.”
On Friday against St. Anselm, the Spartans were able to capitalize on several scoring opportunities winning 4-2. Colin Murray scored two goals and also had an assist on the game. Bart Moran and Ross Herzog each had two assists to lead the Spartans.
After an early penalty by freshman Chris Stachiw, the Hawks were able to score a power play goal to take an early 1-0 lead. The Spartans answer came three minutes later as Will Laking scored to tie the game at one with nine minutes left in the period.
Murray netted his first goal of the game with 10 minutes left in the second period. On a power play, Castleton got the puck around the zone to Murray who beat the goaltender to put the Spartans up 2-1.
The Spartans struck first in the third period eight minutes in. Patrick Thornton scored his first career goal off an assist from Herzog to take a 3-1 lead. Another penalty by the Spartans’ Eric Mack let the hawks back in the game as they capitalized on the man advantage with five minutes remaining.
With time running out, St. Anselm decided to pull their goalie, which ended up being a mistake as Murray was able to score an empty net goal to retake a two point advantage up 4-2 and that is how it ended.
“We are playing better as a team. We are definitely comfortable playing together,” Murray said. “Took too many penalties, but if we stop that and continue playing like we know we can, we will be successful.”
On Saturday, the Spartans were in Henniker, NH to face New England College. Even though Castleton had a 19-17 shot advantage, they fell 2-1.
The Pilgrims didn’t even wait for the crowd to get the seats before Samuli Turunen scored their first goal 55 seconds into the contest. New England College held that lead through the second and into the third period. After a hooking penalty on the Spartans, NEC was awarded a penalty shot. Kyle Manlow took the shot for the Pilgrims and beat Erick Cinottii to put NEC up 2-0 with 18 minutes left to play.
The Spartans were able to pull within one a few minutes later after Kyle Pichler took a shot from the slot that was saved by NEC, but Brian Greene was able to put the rebound in the back of the net to bring the score to 2-1.
Castleton had several opportunities late to score, but could not find the back of the net a second time.
“Our guys work so hard but we squander opportunities we have by giving opponents a man advantage,” Moffat said. “We just need to keep working hard and play smarter.”
Cinotti finshed the game with 24 saves in the loss.
Next up for the Spartans are Umass-Boston and Babson at Spartan Arena on Friday and Saturday night.
“If we can keep doing the small things well, like blocking shots and making correct decisions, we can compete with anyone,” Murray said. “We’ve got to be consistently good throughout all the games.”

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