NORTHFIELD – Tyler Piacentini and Kevin Salvucci each scored power play goals in the first period for Norwich University en route to a 3-0 win over Castleton University in its men’s New England Hockey Conference contest on Jan. 27 at Kreitzberg Arena.
The Cadets power play came out firing on all cylinders, scoring on their first two opportunities.
“We came out a little flat footed and when you play a good team like that they’re going to take advantage right off the hop,” said Bart Moran, a senior captain for the Spartans.
The Cadets came into the game as the second ranked team in the country and showed exactly why.
With 7:33 left in the first frame Cody Smith’s shot from the point was deflected in front by Piacentini for the goal.
Following a Moran elbowing penalty with less than three minutes to go in the first period the Cadets would capitalize once more on the power play.
Smith fired another shot from the left faceoff dot and Salvucci managed to get a stick on it and put it past Castleton goaltender Ryan Mulder.
Smith leads the NEHC in scoring by a defenseman this season with 26 assists.
“Our forwards do such a good job down low. We get them the puck and they’re just putting it in the back of the net recently, so it’s huge for us,” Smith said.
Although allowing two goals in the first period Silengo said that he has been happy with Mulder’s performance.
“Most of the goals weren’t really his fault – rebounds, traffic in front and things like that – so we have to do a better job in front of him,” Silengo said.
Taeron Lewis was able to pop in a loose puck in front of a sea of bodies screening Mulder to add the insurance goal.
Mulder finished with 32 saves and the Spartans fell to 8-9-4 and 6-5-2 in the NEHC.
Ty Reichenbach got the start in goal for the Cadets and stopped 22 shots and recorded his third shutout of the season and helped the Cadets improve to 19-1-2 and 14-1 in the NEHC.
This season Reichenbach has tallied a 1.77 goals against average, which is second in the NEHC behind Babson’s Byron Botcher who has a GAA of 1.74.
The Spartans put an emphasis on playing the body early in the game to limit Norwich’s speed and skill on offense said Moran.
But a flurry of penalties in the first period proved to be the difference.
Spartan Defenseman Jimmy Burns was called for charging and issued a five-minute major and was ejected from the game. An scrum broke out in front of the Cadets bench. Multiple punches were thrown, but only yielded a minor penalty on Norwich’s Austin Suroweic for hitting after the whistle.
“We want to play those teams tough, but we need to find the line and stay out of the box,” Silengo said.
Emotions were running high but Norwich Head Coach Mike McShane was pleased with how his team reacted.
“I thought our guys responded well, stayed discipline and did a good job of staying focused and just playing our style of game,” McShane said.
When asked about the rivalry between the two schools both Smith and Moran embraced it.
“It’s always fun, it’s always physical, you always see that stuff after whistles and it’s fun. It’s fun for the fans, it’s fun for the players, it gets you in it and it gets everyone in it and people show up to watch because it’s exciting,” Smith said.
“It’s always something you can look forward to marking on the calendar,” Moran said. “We’ve had some serious battles in the past between these two teams and I think as classes move on and new classes come in it stays there,” Moran said.
Castleton will play at home against Skidmore this Saturday at 7 pm at Spartan Arena.