PAWTUCKET, R.I. – The Castleton men's hockey team scored four unanswered goals in the third period to stun Johnson & Wales in comeback fashion in New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) action on Friday.
With three conference games remaining, Castleton (4-14-4, 2-11-2 NEHC) sits in a tie for ninth with Johnson & Wales (4-15-3, 2-11-2 NEHC). The Spartans trail Southern Maine (4-15-3, 3-11-1 NEHC) for the eighth and final NEHC playoff spot. The Spartans will take on seventh-place Suffolk (7-14-0, 4-11-0 NEHC) on Saturday before ending the regular season next weekend at home versus Southern Maine and New England College (14-3-5, 7-3-5 NEHC).
The Spartans controlled the opening portion of the third period and were awarded with a pair of tallies to pull within one. After Wildcat goalie Mike Rockwell was tested twice within the opening 40 seconds of play, Anton Tarvainen pulled back a faceoff to the point where Shroyer ripped a shot by the Wildcat netminder. Then, Dom Kuziak scooped up and stuffed a rebound on an initial shot by Jason Bilski 57 seconds later to shrink the deficit to one with 18:20 remaining in regulation.
Glenn Wiswell tied the contest at three on the power play with 5:13 to go when Troy Taylor's point shot was blocked and slid to Wiswell for the one-time blast from the left circle-edge. Then, Castleton earned its first and only lead of the evening when Matt Bloomer fired the puck toward the cage from the corner which deflected into the net off the backside of Rockwell. Bloomer's first goal of the season served as the game-winner.
Following back-and-forth action to begin the game, the Wildcats struck first at the 14:53 mark of the opening period when Jake Glod accepted a centering pass from Conor Cassidy before lifting the forehand shot over Wyatt Pickrell's shoulder. After a quiet end of the opening frame, the Wildcats scored again just 32 seconds into the second period on a tally from Chad Guderian. Then, Johnson & Wales made it a three-goal cushion at 15:04 when Matt Bernot scored on an odd-man rush.
The third goal came after Castleton's best-extended offensive threat of the first half of the contest. After playing 3:58 of consecutive power play time, the Spartans were unable to score despite putting four shots on target and a total of 11 shots on goal in a four-minute frame.
The Wildcats were unable to stretch their lead with four minutes of power play time in the third period. Castleton's flurry of offensive pressure was then aided by five minor penalties committed by the Wildcats within a 7:10 span.
Pickrell earned the win with 23 saves to improve his record to 3-12-4. Rockwell turned aside 40 shots to drop to 2-11-2. After the Wildcats outshot the Spartans 11-7 in the first period, Castleton went on to outshoot the hosts by a combined total of 37-12 over the remaining 40 minutes.