Men’s Hockey: Castleton Tops Norwich 3-1

Courtesy Castleton Sports Information

RUTLAND – Castleton trailed 1-0 after just 39 seconds of play, but rattled off three consecutive goals to complete a 3-1, come-from-behind victory over No. 14 Norwich on Friday night at Spartan Arena in New England Hockey Conference play.

Fabio Kläy scored a pair of goals in the victory, including the game-winner early in the third period. Bart Moran netted the first Castleton goal to draw the game even in the second period, while Ryan Mulder stopped 23 shots in his fourth victory of the season. Tyler Piacentini scored the lone Norwich goal of the game, and Braedan Ostephcuk produced 27 saves despite suffering his fourth loss of the season.

Castleton outshot the opposition 30-24, converted one of their three power play attempts and killed off both of their penalties en route to improving to 5-14-1 overall (4-8-1 NEHC) with its second-ever victory over the Cadets. Norwich, meanwhile, falls to 13-7-1 on the season and 8-5-1 in the conference with the losing effort.

The Cadets got off to a quick start in the contest with a goal just 39 seconds into the first. Piacentini skated into the offensive zone and fired a shot from the circle that Mulder knocked away. Unfortunately, the rebound fell right to the junior forward and he finished it home to put Norwich in front by one.

Just minutes later, the Spartans had a pair of opportunities with a one-man advantage to equalize the contest. On the initial attempt, Kläy beat Norwich’s Ostepchuk with a shot from the far circle, but the puck ricocheted off the inside of the post and was cleared from play. Later in the power play, Ben Bauer had a slap shot through traffic that seemed destined for the net until Ostepchuk deflected it off the post and out of danger.

Castleton continued to push for the equalizer, and at the 7:16 mark in the second, they found it when Moran notched his third goal of the season. Will Laking stole the puck near the blue line before sending a shot into the crease that Moran knocked home to bring the game back to level terms at 1-1.

The Cadets nearly reclaimed the lead just over one minute later when Paul Russell deked past Mulder in the crease for an open-net opportunity. However, the forward’s backhanded effort went well wide of the post, and the game remained even at one.

The game didn’t stay tied for long in the third, however, as Kläy converted a power play opportunity just 54 seconds into the frame to give the hosts their first lead of the game. On a three-on-one break, Laking faked a shot on the far side of the ice before laying the puck off to Kläy in the crease, who slotted it home to put the Spartans ahead 2-1.

With time winding down and the Spartans clinging to a one-goal lead, Norwich pulled its goalie in favor of an extra attacker. After heavy pressure by the Cadets in their offensive zone, Kläy forced a turnover and lofted the puck all the way down the ice and into the empty net to seal a 3-1 victory for the hosts.

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