Spartans Set to Host WSYB/Catamount Radio Invitational

Spartans Set to Host WSYB/Catamount Radio Invitational

CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton men's hockey team is set to host the annual WSYB/Catamount Radio Invitational over the weekend at Spartan Arena. The four-team tournament will feature Castleton, Brockport, Tufts, and King's College, which is making its first appearance in the invitational.

Brockport and Tufts will faceoff in the opening matchup Friday at 4 p.m., before the Spartans take the ice against King's College in the nightcap at 7 p.m. The consolation will be played Saturday at 1 p.m., and the championship will follow at 4 p.m. 

Western New England claimed the 2016 tournament title with a 3-1 victory over Tufts in the championship game. Castleton fell to the Golden Bears in the opener, 1-0, on a late third-period goal before dropping a 5-3 decision against Brockport in the consolation. 

Castleton Spartans (2-5-0)

Castleton is looking for its first tournament championship appearance since 2012 when it faces King's College on Friday night. The Spartans have faced tough sledding over the first month of the season as they are yet to win on their home ice in four opportunities.

Caleb Fizer leads all offensive players with seven points on two goals and five assists. Trevor Hanna found the back of the net last Saturday against New England College and sits second on the squad with three goals and three assists. Coming off a three-point weekend from the blue line, Mark Shroyer leads all defensive players with three goals and has dished out an assist for four total points. Troy Taylor has been strong on defense as well, posting five points on a goal and four assists this season. As a team, the Green and White average 2.71 goals per game. 

Wyatt Pickrell and Ryan Mulder have split time between the pipes thus far. Pickrell is 1-3-0 in four starts with a 4.01 goals-against average and .901 save percentage. Mulder has 69 saves on the season and is 1-2-0 in three starts with a 4.35 goals-against average.

King's College Monarchs (0-6-0)

King's College comes to Spartan Arena still searching for its first program victory in its debut season. The Monarchs fell to Neumann and Bryn Athyn College, 4-2, before most recently being upended by Manhattanville, 11-2. They did put up four goals on the road at Elmira, a team that has beat nationally-ranked Hobart and Utica.

Defenseman Nicholas Palumbo leads the squad with six points thus far on two goals and four assists. Anthony Frati leads all offensive players with four goals and he has added one assist, while Nicholas Gullo and Cameron Anklewich have combined for seven points on two goals and five assists. As a team, the Monarchs are averaging just over two goals per game.

Three different netminders have seen action in net for King's College this season. Jake Tugnutt has made three starts and holds a 6.43 goals-against average and .857 save percentage with 90 saves. Link Ferch is 0-2-0 with 81 saves, while Mike Consentino has played in two games and leads the unit with an .882 save percentage. 

Brockport Golden Eagles (4-2-1)

Brockport makes the trip to Rutland looking to work its way back to the WSYB/Catamount Invitational Championship for the first time since 2015. The Golden Eagles started the season 4-0-1 and were recently receiving votes in the USCHO national poll, but have lost back-to-back games to SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Canton.

Brockport's offense has been strong thus far, ranking 10th in the nation averaging 4.14 goals per game. Aidan Verbeke has an even six goals and six assists to lead the team with 12 points on the season. Zac Sikich has tallied seven goals and four assists, while Connor Hutchins leads the team in assists with eight and has registered three goals for 11 points.

Matt Schneider has been the main goaltender for the Golden Eagles this season, posting a 3-1-0 record with a 2.25 goals-against average to go with a .924 save percentage in four starts.

Tufts Jumbos (0-2-1)

Tufts looks to return to the WSYB/Catamount Radio Invitational Championship for the third consecutive year. The Jumbos are off to a tough start in 2017 as they are still searching for their first win of the season after falling to Babson, 3-1, Tuesday night.

Tufts has spread the puck around well through its first three games with four different goal scorers and 10 different players registering at least one point. Craig Uyeno leads the way with a pair of tallies, while Machlan Sawden, Anthony Farinacci, and Charley Borek have each found the back of the net once.

The Jumbos have split time between two different goaltenders early on. Nick Nugnes is 0-2-0 with a 3.66 goals-against average paired with a .901 save percentage in two games played. Drew Hotte is 0-0-1 in two games played with 33 saves on 37 shots thus far. Nugnes made 35 saves in the loss to Babson.

Players to Watch

Castleton -
#12 Trevor Hanna Hanna is off to another strong start for Castleton, registering a goal in three of the team's seven games thus far. The senior assistant captain is the Spartans' active scoring leader and has started to turn it up with three points (2g, 1a) in his last three games. Look for Hanna to continue to produce on the offensive attack this weekend as the Spartans seek their first tournament title since 2012.

King's College - #9 Anthony Frati – The Monarchs' leading goal-scorer has found the back of the net four times in their first six games as an NCAA sport. Frati tallied two goals in arguably the team's best game this season – a 7-4 loss to Elmira – and registered two more tallies against Bryn Athyn College. Look for Frati to cause havoc in the offensive zone all weekend as King's College seeks its first NCAA win.

Brockport - #10 Aidan Verbeke – Verbeke has been the Golden Eagles' top scorer this season with 12 points. His balanced offensive approach has given him an even six goals and six assists thus far. He has registered a point in every game this season, leads the team with two power-play goals, and has found the back of the net in six straight contests. If Verbeke continues his scoring stretch, Brockport could be tough to beat in the tournament.

Tufts - #9 Brian Brown – Despite tallying just one point thus far, it is only a matter of time until Brown heats up. The senior forward led the team last season in goals (9), assists (11), and points (20). He also led the squad with four power-play goals and three game winners for a potent offense that averaged nearly 2.5 goals per game. If Brown gets going in the tournament, the Jumbos could be headed to their third straight tournament championship appearance.