CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton men's hockey team hits the road for a pair of key New England Hockey Conference contests this weekend, taking on Southern Maine and Daniel Webster on Friday and Saturday.
The Spartans kick off the two-game set on Friday at 7 p.m., facing off with the Huskies in Gorham, Maine, before traveling to Nashua, N.H., for a matchup with Daniel Webster at 4 p.m.
Castleton enters the weekend with an overall mark of 8-9-6, and a conference mark of 7-5-4—good for fourth place in the NEHC. The Spartans are jostling for position with Skidmore, as Castleton remains one point ahead of the Thoroughbreds in the standings entering the final weekend of regular-season action. Castleton has been in good form the second half of the season, collecting 14 points in the standings with a 5-1-4 record since the start of January.
Three seniors lead the squad, as Bart Moran, Brock Labelle and Patrick Thornton each have 15 points. Moran's 10 goals lead the squad, with eight of them coming on the power play. The eight power-play scores tie him for most in the nation and the NEHC. Labelle has four goals and 11 assists for the Spartans, while Thornton leads the squad with 14 helpers this year. Trevor Hanna is having a career-best year, scoring seven times while adding six assists for 13 points. Troy Taylor registered three assists last week to bring his season total to seven, second most among Spartan defensemen, while Ryan Smith and Jimmy Burns have each scored two goals with six assists for eight points this season.
Ryan Mulder has been a mainstay between the pipes the second half of the season, starting all 10 games since the break. The junior has a record of 7-5-5 this season with a .907 save percentage and 2.48 goals-against average. He recently moved into second place all-time for the Spartans in saves, as he brought his career total to 1,433 with a 27-save performance at Spartan Arena against Skidmore.
Southern Maine enters the weekend at eighth place in the NEHC standings with a record of 5-10-1 in conference play and 9-12-2 overall. The Huskies have some big wins on their schedule, taking down UMass-Boston twice, while also notching wins against Skidmore and Bowdoin.
Brett Norman leads the team in scoring, racking up 24 points in 23 games on seven goals and 17 assists. The junior has 16 of those points in conference play, including two power-play scores and a game-winning goal. Cole Klippenstein, Brendan Murphy and Brock Padgham provide offense from the blue line, as the three defensemen have all registered more than 10 points this season. Klippenstein is tied for the team lead with eight goals, while adding nine assists for 17 points. Murphy has chipped in with three goals and 12 helpers for 15 points, and Padgham has a goal and 10 assists for 11 points. Cody Braga has eight goals of his own this season, while Alex Pantalone and Tyler Mathieu have four goals apiece.
Kyle Shapiro has made a team-high 15 starts in goal, playing his way to a 6-8-1 record. The junior goalie has amassed 490 saves this season, as well as a .928 save percentage and a 2.54 goals-against average while notching a shutout.
Castleton got the better of the Huskies at Spartan Arena earlier this season, winning 5-4 in a back-and-forth battle in early January. Hanna led the way on the day, tallying three points on a goal and two helpers. Moran had two goals for Castleton, while Labelle and Thornton chipped in with two assists. Sasha Makarov had a goal and an assist for Southern Maine, while five other players had a point each.
Daniel Webster comes into the weekend winless in its last 17 outings, going 0-16-1 in that span. The Eagles are just 1-21-1 overall this season, and rank near the bottom of the country in scoring offense and defense, as well as penalty kill and scoring margin.
Ryan Murray is the leading scorer for the Eagles, leading the team with eight goals, seven assists and 15 points. Tanner Todd has found the back of the net seven times this season, adding an assist for eight total points to rank second on the team. Chris Timm has seven points, followed by four forwards with six points apiece, including Matt Fitzpatrick and Anthony Langevin, each of whom have three goals and three assists.
Anthony D'Urso and Morgan Hudson have each made 11 appearances in goal, with D'Urso getting the starting nod 11 times to Hudson's nine. D'Urso has a mark of 1-9-1 this season, as well as a save percentage of .917 and a goals-against average of 4.37. He has racked up 507 saves as well as a lone shutout. Hudson has stopped 478 shots in his time, though he has a save percentage of just .887 and a 6.45 goals-against average thus far.
Castleton cruised to a 6-1 win the last time these two squads faced off in early January, with four different Spartans recording multi-point games. Thornton and Mark Shroyer each had a pair of assists on the night, while Otis Goldman and Labelle had a goal and an assist each.