Spartans Battle Back for 3-2, OT Win at Saint Michael's

Spartans Battle Back for 3-2, OT Win at Saint Michael's

SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. – Simon Teodorsson's goal just 19 seconds into overtime made the difference as the Castleton men's hockey team came from behind to pick up a 3-2 win over in-state foe Saint Michael's on Saturday evening at Cairns Arena in a New England Hockey Conference contest.

With Saint Michael's working to get the puck out of its defensive zone early in the overtime period, Teodorsson put strong pressure on a Purple Knights defender to force a turnover before skating in untouched and slipping a backhanded shot through the legs of Saint Michael's goalie Tim Decker to lift the Spartans to victory.

The Spartans improve to 8-9-4 overall with the victory, including a 7-5-2 mark in NEHC play. Ryan Mulder didn't allow an even-strength goal in the contest, stopping 27 of the 29 shots he faced overall on the day. Kurt Johnson and Brock Labelle joined Teodorsson as the Spartans' goal scorers, while Bart Moran, Patrick Thornton and Dan Fitzgerald tallied assists.

Decker stopped 38 shots for Saint Michael's, but it wasn't enough as he was handed his first loss of the season. Eric Salzillo and John Barry each registered goals for the Purple Knights, who fall to 7-12-2 (4-10-1 NEHC) with the loss.

After an uneventful opening period, Castleton opened the second frame with a brief power-play opportunity. The Purple Knights were successful in killing it off, and earned a power-play chance of their own at the 3:25 mark of the period. With the penalty time almost complete, Salzillo came charging through the neutral zone and deked a defender at the blue line. He let go a shot in the slot that beat Mulder to the stick side, giving Saint Michael's its first lead of the game.

Castleton didn't trail long, however, as Johnson leveled the game at 1-1 just less than 90 seconds later during a stint of 4-on-4 play. Fitzgerald sent the puck towards the net through traffic, where Johnson deflected it through the legs of Decker to even the score.

A late-period penalty on the Spartans carried over into the third period, and the Purple Knights cashed in once more with the man advantage. Good puck movement by the home squad led to a wide open chance for Barry, who cashed in for his second score of the season to make it a 2-1 lead for Saint Michael's.

The Spartans battled back once more, as the Purple Knights were charged with three penalties in a 1:12 span to give Castleton an extended 5-on-3 chance. With just eight seconds remaining on the initial penalty, Moran put a shot on goal that was saved by Decker, but Labelle was right there to clean up the rebound and level the score at 2-2. Saint Michael's completed the penalty kill the rest of the way, getting back to even strength with just less that 11 minutes to play in regulation. Both sides had chances on the way out, but each goaltender stood tall to send the game to overtime.

Teodorsson wasted no time in the overtime period, finishing things off just seconds after the opening face-off.

The Spartans held a 41-29 edge in shots in the contest, including a 19-5 edge in the third period and overtime. Face-offs were dead even, as each side won 41 draws in the contest. Castleton's power-play woes continued, as the Spartans managed just one power-play goal on eight opportunities, while Saint Michael's went 2-for-7 on the man advantage.

The Spartans are back in action on Friday, traveling to Skidmore for a pivotal NEHC matchup at 7 p.m.