Men’s Hockey: Laking’s Two Goals Leads Castleton to 3-2 Win Over St. Mike’s

Courtesy Castleton Sports Information

RUTLAND – Will Laking turned in a two-goal performance to lead Castleton to a 3-2 victory this afternoon over the St. Michael’s Purple Knights in New England Hockey Conference Action at Spartan Arena.

Kevin Rosset opened the scoring for the Spartans before Laking delivered a pair of scores in the third to seal the victory. Ben Bauer, Patrick Thornton and Bart Moran each recorded an assist in the win, while Ryan Mulder stopped 34 of the 36 shots that he faced to pick up his fifth victory of the year. The Spartans have now won five of their last seven contests and stand at 6-14-1 overall (5-8-1 NEHC).

Nick Potter and Kevin Altidor provided the lone Purple Knight scores of the game, as the squad fell to 6-15 overall and 3-12 in the conference with the losing effort. Chris Johnson, meanwhile, suffered his tenth loss of the year in net despite producing 31 saves in more than 56 minutes of play.

Castleton had its first real scoring chance of the game with just over eight minutes left in the first when Gustav Carlsson’s slap shot beat the goalie, but his effort ricocheted off the post and was cleared from danger.

The hosts didn’t miss on their next chance, however, as Rosset netted his second career goal and first in a Spartan uniform in nearly two years with 5:32 left in the first to grab the lead. Laking delivered a pass to Moran on the left point, and he fired a shot into the crease that Rosset redirected home to give the hosts an early, 1-0 advantage.

The first period ended in controversy after St. Michael’s had a goal disallowed with just three seconds remaining in the frame. Shawn Morrow delivered a shot from outside the circle that Mulder kicked aside. Potter then picked up the rebound and finished it home off the inside of the post. The referees, however, waved off the score after it was determined that the puck did not cross the goal line.

The Purple Knights eventually found their equalizer at the 11:44 mark in the second. With a one-man advantage, Eric Salzillo delivered a shot into the crease from the top of the point that Potter deflected past Mulder, bringing the game back to level terms at 1-1.

Just over eight minutes into the final frame, the Spartans reclaimed the lead after Laking tallied his first goal of the game. The senior attacker stole the puck in his own offensive end before finishing a wrister past Johnson for a short-handed score, putting the squad ahead, 2-1.

Laking was at it again just over four minutes later when he collected his team-best eighth goal of the season and seventh point in the last five games. Bauer skated across the blue line and dished the puck off to Thornton at the point. The junior defenseman then slipped a pass to Laking at the left circle and he fired a slap shot just inside the near post to double the Spartan advantage.

St. Michael’s pulled their goalie with 3:30 remaining in play and forced 11 shots on target in that span. With 21 seconds left in play, Kevin Altidor cut the Purple Knights’ deficit back to one with a slap shot through traffic. However, it was too little too late, as Castleton held off the late push to secure its second straight victory in conference play.

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