Messervier makes 29 saves in non-conference setback
RUTLAND, Vt. – Senior Kurt Thompson (Wallingford, Conn.) notched the game-winning goal and added two assists as Castleton University slipped past Plymouth State University, 3-1, in a non-conference men's ice hockey contest at Spartan Arena on Wednesday night.
Sophomore Thierry Messervier (Montreal, Que.) had a strong performance in goal for the Panthers, recording 29 saves in the loss. Castleton controlled the action the majority of the contest, outshooting PSU by a 32-17 margin.
Things got off to a great start for the Panthers when junior Ryan Stevens (Colleyville, Texas) got the visitors on the scoreboard less than 30 seconds into the game. After a battle behind the Castleton net, senior Chris Zuccaro (Hudson, N.H.) came up with the puck and found Stevens all alone out in front. Castleton senior goaltender Ryan Mulder (Ottawa, Ont.) made a diving attempt but Stevens moved forehand to backhand, then went top-shelf for his sixth goal of the season just 24 seconds in.
Castleton got the equalizer at the 4:46 mark of the first period. Freshman Matt Bloomer (Rochester, N.Y.) whipped a low wrist shot from the right point that made its way through traffic in front of the net and got past Messervier to even the score at one apiece.
The hosts had a chance to take the lead late in the second period when a stretch pass found senior Trevor Hanna alone for a breakaway, but Messervier made a spectacular save to keep the game tied. Castleton had another chance to pull ahead on an extended power play early in the third period. The Spartans skated with a man advantage for nearly two-and-a-half minutes, including 33 seconds of a 5-on-3, but Messervier and the Panthers' penalty kill unit was up to the test.
Late in the third period sophomore Troy Taylor (Mississauga, Ont.) skated down the left wing and to the back boards, then passed to a wide open Thompson in front of the crease, who one-timed the puck past Messervier for the game-winner with just 2:25 left to play. The Spartans added an empty-netter to secure the win.
The PSU penalty kill unit was busy on the night as the Panthers racked up 27 minutes in penalties. Plymouth finished 0 for 2 on the power play, but limited the Spartans to just one goal in seven opportunities.
Plymouth State had its four-game unbeaten streak snapped to fall to 8-3-1 on the season, while Castleton ended a three-game skid to move to 5-8-0. The Panthers will enjoy some down time for final exams and the holiday before returning to Hanaway Rink for a non-conference game with Wentworth Institute of Technology on Jan. 5. Puck drop is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.
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