NORTHFIELD, Vt. – The top-ranked Norwich men's ice hockey team jumped out to a 3-0 lead and then held off a feisty comeback attempt by No. 3 Castleton to down the Spartans 3-2 on Friday night in front of a sold out crowd at Kreitzberg Arena.
Norwich (7-0-0, 5-0-0 ECAC East) stayed unbeaten on the season while handing Castleton (9-1-0, 6-1-0) its first loss of 2011-12.
The Cadets took advantage of two first-period penalties by Castleton and a 5-on-3 opportunity near the midway part of the first period to strike first blood.
Junior forward Tory Allan (Davidson, Sask.) opened the scoring at the 8:40 mark of the first period by shoveling home his own rebound on the back hand while standing on top of the crease to give Norwich a 1-0 lead. Chris Duszynski (Okotoks, Alb.) and Pier-Olivier Cotnoir (Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec) picked up assists.
Just 44 seconds later sophomore forward Travis Janke (Swift Current, Sask.) made it 2-0 by roofing a shot over Castleton goalie Erick Cinotti's glove after taking a pass from Doug Lindensmith (Sterling Heights, Mich.) in the corner. Alec Thieda (Rochester Hills, Mich.) also picked up an assist.
Freshman defenseman Nick Poulin (St. Odilon, Quebec) pushed the lead to 3-0 by scoring his first career goal with a rocket from the point that soared over Cinotti's glove. Duszynski picked up his second assist of the night on the play.
Castleton cut into the Norwich lead at the 17:17 mark of the first period when Colin Murray beat Norwich goalie Parker Carroll (West Chester, Pa.) on a breakaway after a Norwich turnover in the offensive zone. Murray skated in on Carroll and took a wrist shot that bounced off Carroll's shoulder and fluttered back down underneath the cross bar and into the net.
The Spartans made it a one-goal game at the 5:28 mark of the second period when Dru Douglas blasted a shot from the point past Carroll just five seconds into a power play after Lindensmith was whistled for a hooking penalty.
Neither side was able to score again and the Cadets held on for the 3-2 win after Castleton threw everything it had at Carroll to try and find the equalizer.
Norwich narrowly outshot Castleton 26-25 and was 2-for-5 on the power play while Castleton was 1-for-3.
Carroll made 23 saves to improve to 6-0-0 on the year. Cinotti turned aside 23 shots as well and was saddled with his first loss of the year for Castleton.
The Cadets return to action tomorrow afternoon with a 4 p.m. face off against Skidmore.
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Norwich's Tory Allan (27) fights for a loose puck with a Castleton player during Norwich's 3-2 win over Castleton in the "Battle of Vermont" showdown on Friday night at Kreitzberg Arena. (Jennifer Langille/Norwich University)