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Castleton Spartans

Men's Hockey Primed to Face Familiar Foes on the Road

Men's Hockey Primed to Face Familiar Foes on the Road

CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton men's hockey team is set to hit the road for the final time of the regular season for a pair of New England Hockey Conference showdowns at New England College Friday at 7 p.m. and Southern Maine Saturday at 4 p.m.

Castleton (6-12-3, 2-11-1 NEHC) will be squaring off with both squads for the third time this season and second time in three weeks. The Spartans are coming off a tough road trip to Boston after falling to Babson, 3-1, last Saturday. Jimmy Burns potted the lone Spartan goal and has two goals in as many games as a forward this season. Brody Wagner was strong between the pipes but shouldered his second loss of the year.

Caleb Fizer and Trevor Hanna both lead the team in scoring with 11 points apiece on four goals and seven assists. Glenn Wiswell has netted a team-high six goals and added four assists, while Troy Taylor leads all defensemen with eight assists and nine points. Ryan O'Toole, Matt Bloomer, and Jacob Erwin have each recorded eight points.

Ryan Mulder has been the top Spartan goaltender in recent weeks, starting eight consecutive games before giving way to Wagner at Babson. The senior net minder is 5-5-3 with an .884 save percentage and 3.30 goals-against average in 13 starts thus far. 

NEC (11-8-2, 6-7-1 NEHC) enters the weekend in fifth place in the conference standings after dropping back-to-back games at Hobart and Skidmore last weekend. The Pilgrims have gotten the best of Castleton twice this season, 6-3 and 5-1. Both games were tight in the third period, but NEC has combined to outscore the Spartans, 6-0, in the final stanza.

The Pilgrims have received strong offensive production from several areas, with nine players in double-digit point totals. Adam Zollner leads the way with 21 points on six goals and a team-high 15 assists, while Joe Osaka has netted a team-leading 12 goals and dished out seven assists for 19 points. Carlos Fornaris and Mike Whitehair have 17 points apiece and have combined for eight points in the two matchups against Castleton. 

Kyle Shapiro has made 18 starts in net and is 8-8-2 overall with a .920 save percentage and 2.66 goals-against average. Shapiro has both wins against the Spartans this season with 44 saves on 48 shots.

Southern Maine (3-14-4, 3-8-3 NEHC) comes into the weekend four points ahead of Castleton in the conference standings with four games left. The Spartans mounted a late comeback to earn a 3-3 draw at USM Ice Arena on Jan. 13 behind third-period goals from Ryan Ng and Wiswell. Southern Maine edged Castleton, 4-3, at Spartan Arena back in November.

Michael Taormina leads the Huskies offensively with 10 points from four goals and six assists. Brendan Murphy and Parker Sanderson have tallied nine points apiece, while Patrick Magliano has scored three goals and handed out four assists for seven points. The Huskies are averaging 1.43 goals per game but have registered at least three goals in each game against the Spartans. 

Anthony D'Aloisio has started 18 of 21 games in net and is 3-11-4 with a .911 save percentage and 2.70 goals-against average.

Following the road trip, Castleton returns home to close out the regular season with conference contests against Skidmore and Hobart Feb. 9-10. The Spartans will recognize their nine seniors prior to the regular-season finale against the Statesmen.