CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton men's hockey team returns home this weekend for a pair of New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) contests against in-state rivals Saint Michael's and Norwich.
The weekend of games begins on Friday night at 7 p.m., when Castleton hosts Saint Michael's on its 10th Annual Armed Forces Appreciation Night. The Spartan hockey team will be presenting a $1,000 gift to the Dodge House, located in Rutland, at the first intermission. On Saturday, the Spartans battle No. 12/15 Norwich at 4 p.m. Fans are encouraged to wear white to the contest, and the first 250 fans in the door will receive a free white towel.
Castleton enters the weekend at 2-3-1 overall and 1-3-0 after dropping three consecutive NEHC contests. Last weekend, the Spartans took on a pair of tough teams on the road, falling to No. 2 UMass-Boston, 7-1, and No. 13/15 Babson, 4-1.
Bart Moran has led the way for the Spartans this season, averaging nearly one point per game, with three goals and two assists through six contests. Kevin Rosset has potted two goals to go along with an assist this season, while Henning Dahlberg has a goal and two helpers for three total points as well. Rookie defenseman Troy Taylor leads the team with three assists to date, while five different Spartans have one goal and one assist each.
Ryan Mulder has been the primary starter between the pipes, getting the nod five times with a mark of 2-2-1. The junior has stopped 119 shots to date, good for a save percentage of .915 and a goals-against average of 2.39. Brody Wagner got the start against Babson on Saturday after seeing action off the bench on Friday, bringing his season totals to 43 saves with a 4.34 goals against average and .878 save percentage.
The Spartans' special teams have struggled of late, as the team allowed eight power-play goals in its last two contests combined. The Spartan power play itself has also struggled recently, failing on each of its last 13 opportunities.
Saint Michael's enters the weekend 2-4-0 overall and 1-3-0 in NEHC play, falling twice last weekend to New England College and Saint Anselm.
Eric Salzillo leads the Purple Knights with five points from three goals and two assists, while Danny Divis and William Santangeli are tied for the team lead with four assists. Sam D'Antuono has two goals and two assists on the year for four total points, while five other Saint Michael's skaters have multiple points.
Chris Johnson has seen all of the minutes for the Purple Knights this season, playing to a 2-4-0 record with 214 total saves through six games. The sophomore has a .907 save percentage to pair with a 3.72 goals-against average to date.
Castleton is 11-7 all time against Saint Michael's, including a 7-2 edge on home ice. Both contests a season ago ended in a 3-2 result, with the home side coming out victorious each time.
Norwich enters the weekend unbeaten in NEHC action at 4-0 with an overall mark of 4-0-1 through five games. The Cadets have rattled off four straight wins since a 3-3 tie in their season opener, including wins against Saint Anselm and New England College last weekend.
Nick Pichette has been a force for the offense this season, scoring five times and adding three assists for a team-high eight points. Tyler Piacentini has seven points on four goals and three assists, while Anthony Flaherty's six points (2g, 4a) rank him third on the team. Cody Smith has racked up six points of his own from the blue line, tallying a team-leading six assists through five games.
Ty Reichenbach has started three times for the Cadets, playing to a 3-0-1 record with one shutout. The senior has a save percentage of .917 and a goals-against average of just 1.47, stopping 55 shots on the season. Braeden Ostepchuk has started twice, winning his only decision of the season thus far. The junior has 16 saves for a 2.40 goals-against average and .800 save percentage.
Norwich has tallied eight power-play goals through 29 chances so far this year, good for a success rate of nearly 28 percent. The Cadet penalty killers have been strong as well, killing off 88.2 percent of their penalties.
Nowrich holds an 11-4-1 edge all time against Castleton, including a 6-2-1 edge at Spartan Arena. Castleton collected a win on home ice last year, taking a 3-1 decision late in the season in front of a raucous home crowd.