Men’s Hockey: Norwich Rallies Late, Tops Castleton 2-1

Courtesy Norwich Sports Information

NORTHFIELD – The Norwich University men’s hockey team needed a late rally to avoid being shutout at home for the second straight night at Kreitzberg Arena.

Enter sophomore forward Kevin Salvucci (Plymouth, Mass.) and junior forward Anthony Flaherty (South Boston, Mass.), each scored goals in the final four minutes of the game to lead the Cadets to a huge 2-1 come-from-behind victory over intrastate rival Castleton in the Battle of Vermont rivalry.

After a scoreless first two periods, Castleton (0-6-1, 0-5-1 NEHC) struck first blood at the 5:58 mark of the third period for his fourth goal of the season off an assist from Ryan Smith to take a 1-0 lead.

Smith dropped the puck back from the left post to an on-coming Laking, who flipped the puck into a wide-open net after Reichenbach was down and out challenging Smith from the initial shot and angle.

With things looking bleak, Norwich (6-1-0, 5-1-0 NEHC) needed a spark and it got it in the form of Salvucci, who notched his team-leading fifth goal of the season after driving the net and following up his own rebound to beat Castleton goalie Brody Wagner for the first time.

Flaherty head-manned the puck to junior Tyler Piacentini (South Weymouth, Mass.) and then Piacentini and Salvucci weaved as they crossed over the Castleton blue line. Piacentini dropped the puck back to Salvucci and then Salvucci had an initial shot stuffed by Wagner. However, he found his own rebound at the right side of the net and shoveled the puck into the back of the net while falling to the ice to knot the game up at 1-1.

Just over a minute later, Flaherty scored his first goal of the season in pretty fashion by sniping a wrist shot from the left half boards off the right post and into the back of the net, beating Wagner glove-side to give the Cadets a 2-1 lead with 2:03 left in the game. Piacentini and Salvucci picked up the assists on the goal.

Reichenbach made 25 saves for Norwich to improve to 3-0-0 on the year. Wagner made 21 saves to fall to 0-2-1.

Norwich avoided back-to-back losses at home after the Cadets brought a 20-game home winning streak into the weekend, before having it snapped by Skidmore on Friday night in a 4-0 loss.

With the victory, Norwich extended its unbeaten streak to 14 straight in the Battle of Vermont rivalry. The Cadets last loss to Castleton came in December 2010 by a score of 3-2. NU is 13-0-1 since then vs. the Spartans.

NU will look to keep up the momentum gained from the final four minutes of Saturday’s game when it hosts the 18th annual PrimeLink Great Northern ShootOut next Friday and Saturday in the annual post-Thanksgiving tournament.

The Cadets will take on Conn. College at 7 p.m. in the second of two opening round games after Middlebury meets Plattsburgh in the 4 p.m. game.

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