CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton men's hockey team hosts a pair of New England Hockey Conference games this weekend, taking on Saint Anselm and New England College at Spartan Arena on Friday and Saturday.
Puck drop is slated for 7 p.m. on Friday night against Saint Anselm, while Saturday's contest with New England College begins at 4 p.m.
The Spartans enter the weekend with a 1-0-1 mark after the opening weekend of action that saw them pick up a 3-1 win over Wentworth before tying with SUNY Potsdam, 1-1.
Kevin Rosset has been a key cog in the offense so far, as the senior center has a pair of goals for two points this season. Senior forward Bart Moran has tallied a goal and an assist this season for two points himself, while rookie forward Henning Dahlberg has a pair of assists on the young season. Gus Carlsson netted his first career goal in the season opener against Wentworth, and Nick Kovalchik, Patrick Thornton and Troy Taylor added assists on opening weekend.
Ryan Mulder has started both games between the pipes, making a combined 57 saves through two games. The junior netminder has a .966 save percentage, allowing just goals this season for a goals-against average of 0.97. Mulder has been a big part of the Spartans' special teams, as the defense has killed of 13 of its 14 penalties through two games.
Saint Anselm comes to town on Friday evening for its first game of the 2016-17 season after going 12-11-3 a season ago. The Hawks finished just 6-9-3 in conference play in 2015-16, and graduated both of their leading scorers.
The top returning point getter for Saint Anselm is Nick Leonard, a senior who tallied seven goals and 10 assists a year ago for 17 total points. Peter Sikalis also returns for the Hawks, following a season in which he recorded six goals and 11 assists from the blue line. CJ Blaszka and Brendon Kerrigan each racked up 13 points a year ago as juniors, while sophomores Bryan Green and Jeremy Carignan had 10 points apiece as rookies a season ago.
Saint Anselm returns its top two goaltenders from last year's squad, as Shane Joyce and Colin Soucy are back in the crease. Joyce started 23 times a season ago, playing to a 10-8-3 record while stopping 483 shots. He had a save percentage of .908 to pair with a 2.28 goals-against average while stopping 21 shots per game.
Castleton has an 8-7-3 mark in head-to-head matchups between the two squads, though Castleton is just 3-4-2 against the Hawks at Spartan Arena. Saint Anselm came out on top in last year's matchup, 5-1.
New England College enters the weekend with a record of 1-0 after opening its season with a 4-1 win against Fitchburg St. on Tuesday. The Pilgrims finished last season 11-9-6 overall and 6-6-6 in conference play after bowing out in the NEHC Quarterfinals.
Mike Whitehair has a two-point night to open the season on Tuesday for NEC, potting a goal and adding an assist in the team's victory on home ice. The Pilgrims' Chris Santello, Andreas Zollner and Patrick DeBlois also chipped in with goals, while Kyle Arenson, Connor Fries, Carlos Fornaris and Adam Zollner had assists in the contest.
Brett Kilar opened his senior season with a 31-save effort for NEC in goal, good for a .969 save percentage and a 1.00 goals-against average.
New England College holds an 11-9-4 edge in head-to-head matchups between the two teams, including a 5-4-3 edge in games played at Spartan Arena. Castleton had NEC's number last season, however, as the Spartans went 1-0-1 against the Pilgrims—including a 3-2 win at home.