Men’s Hockey Falls to 8th-Ranked Castleton College 3-2 in Overtime

Matt Rhone scored his team-leading seventh goal of the season.

By Dan Pozner '11

AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College men’s ice hockey team gave eighth-ranked Castleton College all they could handle this evening at Orr Rink, but lost a one goal lead twice en route to a 3-2 overtime defeat. Amherst drops to 7-5-4 (5-3-2 NESCAC) on the year, as Castleton moves to 14-2-0. The Lord Jeffs held leads of 1-0 and 2-1, but a late third period goal for Castleton extended the game to overtime where the Spartans were able to complete the comeback.

In a scoreless first period, neither team seemed able to develop much momentum, and scoring opportunities were scarce. Amherst’s best chance came with five minutes left in the period when a Castleton turnover allowed sophomore Nick Brunette (Chaska, MN) to break loose along the left wing. Castleton goaltender Seth McNary was able to get a glove up and deflect Brunette’s shot wide. Midway through the first, Castleton forward Kyle Pichler tried to jam home a rebound in front of the Amherst net, but senior netminder Cole Anderson (Sylvan Lake, Alberta) was able to cover up and force a whistle before a pile-up in front forced him and the puck into the net.  

Two minutes into the second period, penalties for each team led to 1:51 of four-on-four play. Anderson again came up big for the Lord Jeffs, steering clear an uncontested shot and an ensuing rebound during a 2-on-0 break for Castleton. Five minutes later a long pass from junior defenseman Mike Baran (Duxbury, MA) led to a clear 2-on-0 rush for Amherst. Sophomore Mike Moher (Toronto, Ont.) forced the defender to commit and then slid the puck across to senior Matt Rhone (Dedham, MA), who snapped a shot over McNary’s shoulder into the back of the net.

With only a minute remaining in the period Castleton was able to even the score when defensemen Jonathon LaFrance’s shot from the point found its way through traffic and trickled into the back of the net.

The third period could not have started better for the Jeffs, who were able to capitalize on a Castleton mistake  just 1:40 into the period. A giveaway deep in the Castleton zone allowed senior co-captain Trip Wray (Walpole, MA) to feed a streaking Erik Hanson (Deephaven, MN). The Lord Jeff rookie was able to lift a shot over McNary’s blocker and into the top netting for the 2-1 lead.

During a Castleton power play midway through the period, Anderson made the save of the day. When a shot from the slot trickled across the crease, the Amherst goalie swept his leg across the mouth of the net and denied what would have been a tap-in game-tying goal.

There was nothing Anderson could do six minutes later when Castleton forward Colin Murray redirected a slap shot from in front of goal, evening the game at two goals apiece with 2:53 left in the third.

The game was sent to overtime and after another outstanding save by Anderson on a Castleton breakaway, it appeared Amherst would hold on. But with 1:29 to play in the extra frame Amherst’s upset bid was denied as Castleton forward Brett Zeggill fed Nick Lazorko, who lifted a back-handed shot into the top of the net to beat Anderson.

McNary ended the day with 30 saves in the win for Castleton, while Anderson stopped 21 shots for Amherst. Rhone’s second period goal brought his season total to a team-high seven.

Amherst will resume play Friday night as they travel to Maine to take on the University of New England.