Took a sports writer’s holiday Friday evening with the Catamounts off and headed back to the old home town of Rutland to catch my first game at Spartan Arena, home of the Castleton State College hockey teams.
Castleton was playing Hamilton and it was a fun game. Spartans opened a 2-0 lead but Hamilton rallied with one in the second and one with 2:46 left in regulation — just seconds after I told my wife, Linda, “This one has the smell of overtime.”
Sure enough, 2-2 final.
Nice arena; not on the scale of Middlebury’s Chip Kenyon Arena or Norwich’s Kreitzberg Arena, but certainly adequate for the Spartans.
Nice crowd, too.
For the most part, the Spartans played well and they played smart, except for two offensive zone penalties while on the power play. The second was costly, a five-minute major/game misconduct that disrupted CSC’s top line and caused head coach Alex Todd to jerry-rig lines on the fly and seemed to take a little of the zip out of the Spartans’ stride.
Still, it was a good chance to get a first look at Castleton. Todd and the Spartans again seem to have shaken off their early season struggles. With nine freshmen in the lineup Friday, Castleton should be solid in the ECAC East for awhile.
Never would have thought when I started in the business in Rutland some 40 years ago that the old home town would have its own college hockey team, even if the college campus is some 20 miles to the West.