Spartans lose heartbreaker to Norwich

The Spartans men’s ice hockey team fell short in a semi-conference playoff game to in-state rival Norwich University 4-3, on Feb. 1.
The Spartans exploded at the drop of the puck with an aggressive forecheck that forced Norwich to play on their heels in the defensive zone.
Forechecking was a pregame adjustment made by the Spartans in an attempt to put Norwich in an uncomfortable element by making them play in the defense zone; something they weren’t used to.
Senior Brian Greene lit the lamp midway through the first period giving Castleton the 1-0 lead, but a Spartans charging penalty would swing momentum and ignite the Cadets offense, surging four unanswered goals.
“Norwich plays a lot on emotion and got a lot of momentum off of that,” said Head Coach Steven Moffat. “We got stunned after the third goal.”
Norwich captain, Chris Duszynski capitalized on the power-play, evening the score 1-1.
Castleton’s Ben Roberts said he and the team never use the officials as an excuse for the end result of a game, but the charging penalty given to Castleton’s Reid Lesswing was another matter.
“I thought the penalty was terrible,” Roberts said.
Castleton’s Kyle Pichler scored with 1:04 left in the second, but Norwich still had a 4-2 lead going into the second intermission.
The Spartans didn’t fly out of the gate at the start of the third period, but managed to make it a one-goal game by Charles Bando with 10:49 remaining when it looked like it was all but over.
Continued back and forth play brought Castleton down to their scoring chance, but was unable to tie it and force overtime as the puck missed just right of the goal.
Norwich’s four goals proved to be enough to advance them to the conference championship game.
The big difference was the start of the second period when Norwich scored two more goals extending their lead by three, according to Moffat.
The Spartans finished their season 13-11-3 and fifth in the regular season ECAC East standings.
“I was really, really proud how the guys practiced and prepared for each game this year. I’m not satisfied with the record, but couldn’t be happier with them on and off the ice this year,” Moffat said.

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