Bangor, ME – It was a closely contested battle throughout, but when the final horn sounded, Castleton had the edge, and downed the Eagles 10-9 on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon at Husson's Boucher Field. Husson led early, but Castleton fought back, and the game was neck-and-neck throughout, as both teams fought hard for the North Atlantic Conference lead. Castleton's Nohea King (St. Albans, VT) netted his third with 3:59 remaining to put the Spartans ahead for good.
Husson's Matt Sweeney (Norwood, MA) led the Eagles in scoring with three goals and Ben Landry () also had three points, scoring two and assisting on another. John Hooper (Wakefield, RI) had a good day in net despite the loss, turning in 15 saves on the afternoon.
The Spartans backed up King's three goals with another hat trick by Sam Bailey (Hartford, VT), and Adam Groot (Canadaigua, NY) scored a pair and assisted another to become the third Castleton player with 3 points. Craig MacDerment (Clifton Park, NY) helped Castleton earn the victory, winning 16 of 19 face-offs, and scooping a game-high 11 ground balls.
Husson opened up the scoring when Mitch Heaps (Felton, PA) ripped a shot from the middle of the attacking third with 12:05 left in the first quarter, and the Eagles opened up a two goal lead when Nick Brown tucked one in past the goalie's left leg about 5 minutes later. Groot scored his first with a minute left in the quarter and Husson went into the first break up 2-1. Castleton tied it up early in the second when King got on the board with his first of the day just 26 seconds into the period. Sweeney answered three minutes later to put the Eagles back on top. Landry scored his first a couple minutes later, and gave the Eagles a two goal advantage once more with 8 minutes left in the half. King responded with his second, and Phil Patterson (Essex, VT) scored (assisted by Groot) on a man-up opportunity with just over 5:00 in the half. With it looking like the teams would be tied going into half, the Eagles took a time out in their offensive third, and whatever Coach Tim Murphy drew up worked to perfection as Chris Pelletier (Rome, ME) scored a much needed goal with just 42 seconds left in the half, and the Eagles went into the break with a one goal edge.
It didn't take long for the Spartans to respond out of halftime, as Luke Titus (South Berlington, VT) scored just over a minute in to square up the scoreboard. Castleton's Bailey netted another with 11:12 to play in the third as the Spartans took their first lead of the game. 9 minutes later Landry responded scoring his second of the day to bring it back to even, and Sweeney put his second one in with just 14 seconds left in the period to give the Eagles a one goal advantage going in to the final frame. Bailey came into the 4th quarter hot, scoring a pair of goals within the first two minutes to tie, and subsequently take the lead for Castleton. Groot scored with 9:29 remaining to give the Spartans their largest lead of the day as they went up 9-7. Husson was looking for another important goal, and found it from the stick of Pelletier again to bring the Eagles to within a goal with 6:49 left in the game. Husson came up with the all important equalizer when the Castleton goalie Dave DeGhetto (Clifton, NJ) attempted to clear the ball from the crease, which was deflected by Sweeney, who batted the loose ball into the net for the score. King got the game winner on a shot from the right side despite head coach Brian Kingsbury asking for a timeout. The officials did not grant the timeout and the goal counted, and that would be all Castleton would need to secure the victory.
Coach Murphy was obviously upset with the outcome, but was please with his team's performance, "I am very proud of the way our guys played today. They battled for 60 minutes, and fought until the final horn. We definitely took a big step forward." The Eagles return to action tomorrow for a 12:00 pm start when they host Green Mountain College. Castleton continues their central Maine swing when they travel to Castine to play Maine Maritime Academy tomorrow for a 1:00 pm start.