UTICA, N.Y. – Castleton played even with Utica through the first 30 minutes but a poor third quarter proved too much to overcome in the final 15 minutes as the team dropped a 14-9 decision to the Pioneers on Wednesday.
The Spartans were tied with a minute left in the half, but five straight goals between the second and third quarters put them in a insurmountable hole as they fell to 1-3 on the year. Utica improved to 3-2 with the win as they outshot Castleton 40-29, caused five more turnovers and picked up 29 ground balls compared to 26 for the visitors.
Zach Davidson led the offense with four points on two goals and two assists while Will Stuhler registered his second two-goal game of the year. The Spartans caused a season-low eight turnovers, but got two causes turnovers and two ground balls from Ryan Crowningshield.
TJ Benson led a balanced scoring attack for the Pioneers with three goals on four shots. Trent Jacobs and Christian Reiller each added two goals and one assist while Ross Cree finished with two assists and a single goal.
Freshman Sean Paradis provided Castleton's lone goal in the opening 15 minutes as the Spartans trailed 3-1 after a quarter. Back-to-back goals from Stuhler and Davidson tied it 3-3 in the second before Joe Schoen made it 4-3 with 48 seconds left in the first half.
Utica scored the first four goals of the third quarter to push its lead to 8-3 before Stuhler and Hartman scored twice in a 13-second span to cut it to a three-goal game at 2:47 of the third. The Pioneers countered with the next four goals to extend its advantage to 12-5 with 11:08 remaining in the contest.
Sophomore Taylor Swarter ended the run at 9:55 and a 2-1 run with goals from Zach Devoid and Davidson made it 13-8 with 5:57 left. The Spartans managed just one goal in the final five minutes as they dropped their second straight.
Sophomore Peter Latulippe took the loss as he allowed 13 goals and made 13 saves in 57:30. Sam Polas made one save and allowed a score in 2:30. Freshman Henry Moser was an impressive 5-for-5 on faceoffs in the game.
Cory Spisak was solid in net as he stopped 11 shots in 60 minutes to earn his second win of the year.
Castleton returns to action on Saturday when the team hosts Thomas in the conference opener for both teams at 12 pm.