HENNIKER, N.H. – The Castleton University men's lacrosse team lost to New England College in its regular season finale Monday night at Don Melander Field, 17-6, but the Spartans still receive a bye into the semifinals of the upcoming North Atlantic Conference Tournament as the second seed.
Jason Sedell led the Spartans with three goals, his fifth hat trick of the season, while Kyle Lutinski scored two goals and Sam Siegel dished out two assists. Josh Gosselin won 20-of-26 face-offs, and Brandon Myron made eight saves in net for Castleton.
New England College (13-4, 7-0 NAC) took control early, scoring the first seven goals of the contest, starting with a tally by Patrick Storie just over five minutes into the game. Matt Richard assisted on the first three goals as the Pilgrims took a 4-0 lead into the second period, and then two goals by Zach Cotoni sandwiched around Storie's second goal of the night extended NEC's lead to 7-0.
Castleton took advantage of an extra-man opportunity as Lutinski scored his first goal of the game off an assist by Colin Clark, and Sedell would follow with his first goal 35 seconds later. However, New England College closed out the second period with three straight goals, with Richard setting up Charles Hacking twice surrounding Storie's third tally of the game, giving the Pilgrims a 10-2 advantage at halftime.
The Pilgrims scored the first five goals of the third period, including consecutive goals by Jacob Blanchette, to open a 15-2 lead. Sedell scored back-to-back goals in the span of 34 seconds to close the Spartan deficit a bit, but NEC still held an 11-goal lead heading into the fourth period, which would be the margin of victory at the end as each team scored twice in the final 15 minutes.
For New England College, Hacking and Storie finished with four goals and one assist apiece, while Cotoni earned three goals and one assist and Blanchette also notched a hat trick with three goals. Richard finished with seven assists as he ran the offensive end of the field, and Pilgrim goalie William Platt controlled the defensive side with 18 saves for a .750 save percentage.
The Spartans actually outshot the Pilgrims, 37-36, and collected more ground balls, 28-23, but Castleton hurt its own cause by failing on six of 13 clear attempts and converting only 1-of-4 extra-man opportunities. Meanwhile, New England College was 4-of-6 with the man advantage, committed only 10 turnovers, and was successful on 16-of-19 clear attempts.
Castleton (9-7, 6-1) will host a NAC Tournament semifinal game Wednesday, May 2, against the winner of the April 28 quarterfinal game between third seed Husson and sixth seed Thomas. The Spartans will be looking to advance to their 15th consecutive league tournament title game.