NORTHFIELD, Vt. – Castleton battled back to put the game on level terms less than a minute into the second period, but the Norwich Cadets scored later in the game to capture a 2-1 victory over the Spartans at Kreitzberg Arena on Saturday night in the semifinals of the ECAC East Tournament.
Braedan Moffatt scored the lone Castleton goal in the contest, as the squad finished the season at 11-16 overall with the losing effort. The Cadets, meanwhile, advance to the conference title game while improving to 23-3-1 on the year.
After more than 17 minutes of scoreless action, the hosts finally struck first when Dmitry Ermakov netted his first goal of the year. At the 17:36 mark, Bryce Currier and Alec Brandup were credited with assists on the play, as Ermakov slotted the puck home to give Norwich an early 1-0 lead.
However, the Spartans wasted little time to respond, scoring just 51 seconds into the middle frame to even the game at one. After his initial shot was saved, Moffatt collected the rebound and fired a backhander home to bring the game back to level terms.
With 3:50 remaining in the period, Norwich reclaimed the lead when Currier grabbed his third goal of the season. The senior defenseman received a pass on the right wing and finished a shot just past Castleton's Ryan Mulder to make it 2-1 in favor of the hosts.
With a one-goal advantage, the Cadets were able to stave off a late Castleton rally and advanced to the conference championship game in hopes of capturing its fourth ECAC East title in the last five seasons.
In net, Ryan Mulder turned in a fantastic performance, stopping 22 of the 24 shots that he faced, while Ty Reichenbach picked up his 13th win of the season with 13 saves.