RUTLAND, Vt. – For the second consecutive night, the Castleton men's hockey team led going into the third period but played to a 2-2 overtime draw at Spartan Arena as it battled UMass-Boston in a key New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) contest.
The Spartans (7-8-4) take over sole possession of third place in the NEHC standings for the time being with a 6-4-2 mark in league play, while UMass-Boston moves to 10-7-3 overall and 5-5-2 in conference play with the result.
Ryan O'Toole scored the first goal of the game for Castleton, while Mark Shroyer scored his second goal of the season for the Spartans in the tie. Ryan Mulder followed up his stellar play on Friday night by setting a new season-high save total, with 32.
Drew Gannon scored the first goal for UMass-Boston to jump start his team's scoring, while Nolan Redler tallied the game-tying goal for the Beacons. Bailey MacBurnie stopped 27 shots between the pipes for UMass-Boston.
The Spartans got on the board early after sustained pressure in their offensive zone. Jimmy Burns put a puck on net, where Nick Kovalchik got a stick on it before O'Toole finished the job, making it 1-0 in favor of the home team just 6:13 into the contest. The Spartans outshot UMass-Boston 10-9 in the opening 20 minutes, while possessing the puck for a majority of the frame.
A late first-period penalty forced Castleton to open the second period shorthanded, but it was of no difference as the Spartans cashed in down a man. With a Beacon penalty upcoming, Castleton worked the puck around behind the net before sending it to Shroyer at the point. The rookie connected on a one-timer that beat MacBurnie over the shoulder to double Castleton's lead to 2-0 just 31 seconds into the stanza. The Beacons picked up the pressure the remainder of the period, outshooting the Spartans 12-7 in the second 20 minutes, but Mulder stood tall and held off all 12 attempts to keep the lead at 2-0 going into the final frame.
Coming into the third period trailing 2-0, the Beacons came out in search of an offensive spark. The spark came early in the third period, when Gannon rifled a one-timer through traffic from the high slot, beating Mulder to the top shelf to halve the Castleton lead to 2-1 on assists from linemates Dakota Keene and Daniel Nachbaur. The Beacons continued to pressure offensively, and cashed in once more—this time on the power play—with less than eight minutes to play in regulation. After the Spartans failed to clear the zone, Ryan Cusin let go a shot from the left point that was deflected on its way to the net by Redler. The deflection beat Mulder down low, leveling the score at 2-2. Both teams stood tall for the remainder of regulation, as each side killed off a penalty in the waning minutes to send the game to overtime.
The overtime period was back and forth for much of the time, though the Beacons had two prime chances as the clock ran out. After a Spartan turnover in their defensive zone, UMass-Boston's Tyler Bishop and Gabe Chuckran each let go shots from the point that Mulder snared to keep the game level to the final horn.
UMass-Boston outshot Castleton 34-29 on the night, though Castleton won 40 of the 73 face-offs in the contest. The Beacons were 1-for-4 on the power play, while the Spartans went 0-for-3; Castleton scored a shorthanded goal for the second consecutive night.
The Spartans return to the ice on Friday night when they travel to the No. 2 team in Division III, Norwich, for a 7 p.m. matchup at Kreitzberg Arena.