CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton men's hockey team is back in action this weekend, hitting the road for a pair of New England Hockey Conference matchups in New Hampshire on Friday and Saturday.
The Spartans kick off the two-game road swing at New England College on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. in search of their third straight win to open 2017, before heading to Saint Anselm on Saturday at 4 p.m. The squad enters the weekend with an overall record of 5-8-2, and a 3-4-0 mark in NEHC action.
Castleton had two big wins in a home doubleheader a weekend ago, scoring a combined 11 goals over the two games, and outshooting the opposition 81-33. Brock Labelle has been a force for the Spartans in conference play this season, racking up all 10 of his points against NEHC opponents. The senior has three goals and seven assists this season, tying him for the overall team points lead with Patrick Thornton, who has one goal and nine assists for Castleton. Bart Moran has powered the Spartans on the man advantage to date, netting five of his six goals on the power play while adding three assists for nine total points. Trevor Hanna is tied with Moran at nine points on the season, collecting five goals and four assists. Jimmy Burns has been strong at the point, racking up seven points on two goals and five assists; Troy Taylor and Ryan Smith have added six points on apiece, scoring two goals with four assists each. Otis Goldman has come on strong of late, scoring four goals this season with a pair of game-winning goals.
Ryan Mulder raised his season win-loss record to 4-4-1 with the two wins a week ago. The junior holds a 2.92 goals-against average and .880 save percentage this season. He has split time with Wyatt Pickrell, who has a 2.26 goals-against average and .914 save percentage with a 1-2-1 record.
New England College enters the weekend at 10-5-0 overall and 6-3-0 in NEHC play. The Pilgrims have a powerful offense, scoring 56 goals through 15 games, an average of 3.73 goals per game.
Carlos Fornaris has a team-high 19 points, racking up 15 assists to go with four goals in his rookie season. Andreas Zöllner, Adam Zöllner and Connor Fries all have seven goals this season, while Andreas Zöllner has nine assists, Adam Zöllner has eight and Fries has seven. Bryce Nielsen has 12 points on three goals and nine assists, while Mike Whitehair rounds out the double-digit scorers with 11 points on six goals and five assists.
Penalties have plagued the Pilgrims this season, as they average nearly six penalties per game. Fornaris has been the top offender, taking 11 penalties for 41 minutes this season while Adam Zöllner and Patrick DeBlois have each taken nine penalties for 18 minutes.
Brett Kilar has played in 14 games for NEC this season, stopping 446 shots for a .937 save percentage and 2.03 goals-against average. The senior has three shutouts this season, working his way to a 9-5-0 record between the pipes.
Castleton fell to NEC early in the season at Spartan Arena, 1-0. Patrick Bartolomucci scored the only goal in the game as both goalies posted strong performances. The Pilgrims hold a 12-9-4 edge all time in head-to-head matchups, though the teams are 2-2-1 against one another in the last five meetings.
Saint Anselm opens the weekend with a record of 7-6-1 overall and 4-5-0 in conference play, and it hosts Skidmore of Friday evening prior to taking on the Spartans. The Hawks have been up-and-down of late, going 2-2-1 in their last five contests.
Jérémy Carignan has a team-leading 14 points this season, scoring six goals and adding eight assists. Brendon Kerrigan leads the team with nine assists, adding three goals for 12 total points; Trey Aiello has seven goals for the Hawks, adding an assist for eight points. Peter Sikalis has provided balance for Saint Anselm as well, adding four goals and seven assists for 11 total points. CJ Blaszka and Jonathon Pallotta each have eight points on the season, while Vin D'Amato and Justin Longo have seven points apiece.
Shane Joyce has started 13 times for the Hawks this season, stopping 310 shots for a .925 save percentage and 2.17 goals-against average. The junior has a 6-4-1 record during his time between the pipes to go along with one shutout.
Castleton came out on top earlier this season at Spartan Arena, powering its way to a 5-3 win behind two points from Smith and goals from five different players in all. The Spartans are 9-7-3 all time against Saint Anselm, trading wins and losses with the Hawks over the last five matchups dating back to the beginning of the 2014-15 season.