Castellano Lifts Colonels over UNE with Last-Minute Goal

BIDDEFORD, Maine -- First-year John Castellano (Scarsdale, N.Y.) netted an unassisted goal with 25 seconds remaining in the final quarter to give Curry a 9-8 Commonwealth Coast victory over the University of New England in the regular-season finale Wednesday evening (Apr. 25) at the Big Blue Turf.

The Colonels (2-5 CCC) close out the year with a record of 9-7. Big Blue (9-8) finishes the league schedule with a 3-4 mark, and will enter the CCC Championship as the No. 4 seed, hosting Gordon College in first round action on Saturday (1:00 p.m.).

Play went back-and-forth in the 4th period, started by Curry junior Joseph Natale (Haverhill, Mass.) from Castellano for what was the fourth unanswered goal on the visitor's side, making it 7-5 Colonels. UNE sophomore Dan O'Gorman (Putnam Valley, N.Y.) won the ensuing face-off to himself and set-up junior Tyler Thomas (Mount Pleasant, N.Y.) seven ticks later (13:11) to get back within one.

The Nor'easters drew even at 7-all just over a minute later when senior Matt Anderson (St. Paul, Minn.) forced a turnover in his defensive zone and took it the rest of the way to score.

Curry senior Russell Lanham (Silver Spring, Md.) tallied his second goal of the night with 9:23 to go, but with 5:36 left, UNE senior Mike Pennacchio (Peabody, Mass.) knotting things at 8-8.

The Nor'easters held a 16-5 edge in shots during the 4th stanza, including two shots that ricocheted off the goal frame down the stretch that would've put the hosts in front.

Castellano ended the match with three goals and five points. Natale joined Lanham with a pair of scores in the contest, and first-year Ronald Jensen (Zionsville, Ind.) added two assists. Senior goalie Michael Hibbard (North Chelmsford, Mass.) posted 13 saves to earn the win.

Tyler Thomas led UNE with two markers, and O'Gorman, while taking 14 of 18 decisions at the face-off X, chipped in with three points (1 goal, 2 assists). Senior Dylan Thomas had two assists as well.

Big Blue senior Nate Porter (Cohasset, Mass.) stopped 12 shots between the pipes. Anderson and junior Nick McMahon (Westfield, Mass.) each recorded three caused turnovers to aid the defensive effort.

Curry got off to an early 3-0 lead with just over nine minutes gone in the 1st, before the Nor'easters found the back of the cage twice in 30 seconds late in the quarter to make it a one-goal difference heading into the 2nd frame. First-year Shamus Higginbottom (New Milford, Conn.) found junior Ben Herman (Brunswick, Maine) for his first goal of the year with 0:37 remaining, and then the Thomas brothers connected for a goal shortly after.

Higginbottom kept the momentum going for UNE in the next period on a score five minutes in, and two more in the middle of the stanza left Big Blue in front, 5-3.

Castellano cut the deficit to one (5-4) before halftime, stopping the Nor'easters' run.


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