Men’s Hockey: St Mike’s Earns First Win, Tops Castleton 3-2

Courtesy St. Michael’s Sports Information

SOUTH BURLINGTON – The Saint Michael’s College men’s ice hockey team netted three second-period goals and earned its first victory of the season on Friday evening, a 3-2 triumph over in-state foe Castleton University during New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) play in Cairns Arena. The Purple Knights improved to 1-5 overall and 1-4 in the league in downing a Spartan squad that tied New England College, which was receiving national votes, and only lost to sixth-ranked Babson College 1-0. Castleton is 0-5-1 and 0-4-1.

During his first career game appearing on defense, senior Shawn Morrow (East Greenbush, N.Y./Kent School) netted the game-winner and added an assist, while first-year Chris Johnson (Duxbury, Mass./Pomfret School) made a career-high 42 saves. Senior Kevin Altidor (Montreal, Quebec/Millbrook School) and junior Anthony Maiuri (Boxford, Mass./New Hampton School) also tallied, while sophomore Eric Salzillo (Johnston, R.I./Boston Bandits) and first-year Colin Biebel (Roxborough Park, Colo./Walpole Express) both dished off a pair of assists. Salzillo was also 8-for-17 on faceoffs, while first-year Sam D’Antuono (Hingham, Mass./Dexter School) went 11-for-22.

Senior Derek Gingera (Winnipeg, Manitoba/Winnipeg) and junior Corbin Marcotte (Houston, British Columbia/Sicamous) scored for Castleton, while sophomore Ryan Mulder (Ottawa, Ontario/Nepean) took the loss after making five saves in the opening two periods. Classmate Brody Wagner (Shillington, Pa./Abitibi) worked a four-stop third.

Johnson made 13 stops during the opening stanza to keep the game scoreless, including a pair with his right pad a little more than three minutes into the contest. Senior Will Laking’s (Orillia, Ontario/Saint Andrew’s College) backhanded try from the low slot was among them, at 3:43. Johnson denied first-year Fabio Klӓy (Langnau, Switzerland/Connecticut Junior Rangers) with his helmet at 6:12 before stopping Laking with the left pad 29 seconds later. Late in the period, D’Antuono and first-year Jack Ouellette (Arlington, Mass./Dexter School) fired shots on goal from beyond the blue line within a minute of one another, and Johnson recorded one last stop on Gingera’s backhanded try from the slot with 1:02 to go.

Gingera put his team ahead 2:26 into the second period, one-timing home junior Patrick Thornton’s (Orillia, Ontario/Lindsay) pass into the left circle, but Saint Michael’s evened the tilt 1:21 later, with Morrow sending Altidor in alone, with the forward backhanding a quick shot five-hole. Maiuri put the hosts on top at 12:21, as Mulder came out to challenge a Biebel shot, which was blocked, and the rebound came to the right side of the net, where Maiuri snagged the loose puck. Johnson denied Gingera’s bid from low in the left circle with 54.8 seconds to go before Salzillo passed out of the corner during a power play for Morrow, who picked the upper left corner from the slot with 20.0 ticks remaining.

With his team up 3-1, Johnson made four saves during a Castleton power play early in the third period, rejecting Gingera three times from point-blank range and denying senior Tyler Gaudry (Stonewall, Manitoba/Dauphin) with his left pad at 7:07. Near the end of the power play, Johnson was out of position with sophomore Jimmy Burns (Middletown, N.J./New Jersey Junior Titans) shooting toward an open net from the low slot, but sophomore defenseman Nathan Foice (Essex, Vt./The Winchendon School) slid in front to block the shot. With the net empty in favor of an extra attacker, Laking was turned away by a Johnson pad save from out front with fewer than 30 seconds to go. With 5.0 seconds left, Marcotte knocked the puck from under Johnson to make it 3-2, but Castleton could not get a shot off after winning the ensuing draw.

Saint Michael’s hosts Skidmore College tomorrow at 4 p.m. for its final home contest until Dec. 1.

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