Spartans Close 2017 Slate with Two Non-Conference Tilts

Spartans Close 2017 Slate with Two Non-Conference Tilts

CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton men's hockey team is set to hit the ice for the final two times of the 2017 slate with non-conference bouts against Plymouth State and SUNY Canton over the next three days.

Castleton will host Plymouth State in its final home matchup before the Holiday Break on Wednesday night at 7 p.m., before traveling to SUNY Canton on Friday for a 7 p.m. puck drop against the Kangaroos.

Wednesday's contest will be the eighth annual Teddy Bear Toss night at Spartan Arena, with free admission to all fans that enter with a teddy bear. All stuffed animals go to Toys for Kids, an effort by the Marine Corps League. 

Castleton (4-8-0) looks to bounce back from a pair of tough intrastate contests over the weekend as it fell to No. 11/12 Norwich on Friday, 4-1, before dropping a 3-2 decision at Saint Michael's on Saturday. The Spartans opened the scoring in both games but were unable to hold off their opponents en route to their third straight loss since winning the WSYB/Catamount Radio Invitational on Thanksgiving Weekend.

Caleb Fizer, Otis Goldman, and Jacob Erwin all netted goals over the weekend, while Troy Taylor dished out two assists to lead the squad with two points. On the season, Trevor Hanna has paced the team in scoring with nine points from four goals and five assists. Taylor has handed out a team-high seven assists, while Matt Bloomer has recorded three goals and four assists from the blue line. The Spartans are averaging 2.42 goals per game offensively. 

All three Spartan netminders saw action over the weekend. Wyatt Pickrell and Ryan Mulder combined for 33 saves at Norwich, before Brody Wagner tallied 27 stops in his first start of the season at Saint Michael's. Pickrell leads the backstop unit with six starts and a .903 save percentage. Mulder is 3-2-0 with a 3.48 goals-against average in five starts.

Plymouth State (8-2-1) is coming off a pair of convincing victories over the weekend. The Panthers scored in all six periods to down Westfield State, 7-1, and shutout Saint Anselm, 4-0, extending their unbeaten streak to four games in the process. 

Much of the team's success can be attributed to its high-powered offensive attack. Plymouth State comes into the affair averaging 4.09 goals per game, good for 10th nationally. With five goals and 13 assists, Ryan Stevens is tied for ninth in the country averaging 1.64 points per game and ranks tied for seventh nationally in assists per game (1.18). Matt Volonnino has registered 14 points and ranks tied for eighth nationally with four power-play goals. Victor Bergstrom leads all defensemen in scoring with 13 points from five goals and eight assists. 

Evan Morelli has featured in eight games between the pipes this season for the Panthers. He has posted a 7-1-0 record and ranks fourth nationally in both goals-against average (1.37) and save percentage (.950). Theirry Messervier and Andreas Pettersson have combined for a 1-1-1 record in three starts.

The Spartans are 9-2-1 overall against Plymouth State and 4-1 against the Panthers on home ice. The two teams battled to a 3-3 draw last season at Hanaway Rink.

SUNY Canton (2-9-0) will welcome Castleton on Friday night looking to snap a six-game losing streak. The Kangaroos most recently dropped back-to-back games at Fredonia and have not won since defeating Brockport, 6-3, on Nov. 17.

The Kangaroos enter the contest averaging 2.5 goals scored per game offensively. Jon Deveny and Josh Sova have led the squad so far with 10 points apiece. Joey Vocino and Tyler Bullard each have seven points, while Ben Beasley leads the team in assists with six.

Defensively, SUNY Canton is averaging 4.07 goals against per game. Austin Washkurak and Michael Cerasuolo have split time evenly in net, recording five starts each. Washkurak is 1-4-0 with a 3.44 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage. Cerasuolo has posted a 4.07 goals-against average to go with an .887 save percentage.

Following the Holiday Break, the Spartans will pick up action at home on Jan. 9 against Potsdam at 7 p.m.