CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton men's hockey team returns to Spartan Arena for the first time in over a month on Friday and Saturday, hosting Daniel Webster and Southern Maine.
The Spartans enter the weekend after a pair of losses in Plattsburgh St.'s W.B. Mason Winter Classic prior to the New Year. Castleton opened the weekend with a loss to No. 11/15 Neumann, before falling to Wesleyan, 3-0. The Spartans are 3-8-2 overall this season, including a 2-4-0 record in league play, but they are searching for their first win since Nov. 18 when they cruised past Saint Michael's, 7-0.
Friday night's tilt at 7 p.m. against Daniel Webster marks one of just two non-conference games left on the Spartans' schedule, the other coming in February against the same opponent. On Saturday at 4 p.m., Castleton hosts Southern Maine in a return to New England Hockey Conference action.
Bart Moran's seven points lead the team to date, as the senior has four goals and three assists. Five others have six points apiece, as Trevor Hanna has four goals and two assists of his own, while Troy Taylor, Brock Labelle and Jimmy Burns each have two goals and four helpers. Patrick Thornton rounds out the six-point scorers with one goal and five assists. Ryan Smith and Nick Kovalchik each have two goals and three assists for five points this season, and Kevin Rosset and Otis Goldman have each scored two goals of their own.
The Spartans have rotated goalies frequently this season, with Ryan Mulder getting the nod a team-leading seven times. The junior has a 2-4-1 record in his time between the pipes, stopping 196 shots for a 3.04 goals-against average and .886 save percentage. Wyatt Pickrell has seen action in four games this season, playing his way to a 1-2-1 record with 96 saves, a .914 save percentage and 2.26 goals-against average.
Daniel Webster enters Friday night's contest at 1-11-0 overall, dropping each of their last six contests. Nine of the Eagles' 11 losses this season have come by two goals or more, and the squad has allowed three goals or more in every contest thus far.
Ryan Murray leads the team in goals, assists and points, scoring six goals while adding six assists for 12 total points this season. Matt Fitzpatrick and Chriss Timm have each added three goals and two assists, while Tanner Todd has amassed four goals this season for Daniel Webster.
Morgan Hudson and Anthony D'Urso have split time evenly in goal, with Hudson getting the nod six times. The sophomore has 233 saves, but is allowing more than seven goals per game with a save percentage of just .873. D'Urso has stopped 185 shots to date, posting a 4.71 goals-against average and .873 save percentage.
This is the first time the two teams have ever faced off, as ice hockey was elevated to a NCAA varsity sport for the first time last year at Daniel Webster.
Southern Maine comes into the weekend at 5-7-0 overall and 2-5 in NEHC action. The Huskies have dropped four of their last five games dating back to Thanksgiving, with the lone win coming against Trinity, 2-1.
Junior forward Brett Norman has had a stellar season to date, dishing out a team-high 11 assists while adding three goals for 14 total points through 12 games. Cole Klippenstein has three goals and four assists for seven total points, while Tristan Dundas and Brendan Murphy have two goals and three assists each. Brock Padgham has one goal and four assists for five total points, while Cody Braga and Tyler Mathieu have three goals and an assist apiece.
Kyle Shapiro has started nine times in goal, playing his way to a 4-5-0 record while stopping 307 shots. He holds a .939 save percentage to date, as well as a 2.24 goals-against average and a shutout.
The Spartans are 13-5-1 all time against Southern Maine, including three straight victories in head-to-head matchups, all of which have come by four or more goals. Last season, Castleton picked up an 8-1 win at Spartan Arena before going on the road and winning, 5-1.