Men's Hockey Downs USM, 5-1, Behind Three Power-Play Goals

Men's Hockey Downs USM, 5-1, Behind Three Power-Play Goals

GORHAM, Maine – The Castleton men's hockey team capitalized on special teams with three power-play goals and another shorthanded tally to down Southern Maine, 5-1, Saturday afternoon in New England Hockey Conference action at USM Ice Arena.

With the win, Castleton improves to 7-13-3 on the season and 3-12-1 in conference action, while Southern Maine falls to 3-16-4 overall and 3-10-3 in NEHC play.

Caleb Fizer had a hand in four goals with a pair of goals and assists to lead the Spartans offensively. Ryan O'Malley dished out two assists from the blue line, while Jacob Erwin and Dom Kuziak each came away with two points on a goal and an assist. Glenn Wiswell netted his team-leading seventh goal of the season and Ryan Smith and Corey Sikich each registered an assist. Ryan Mulder was solid in net once again with 25 saves on 26 shots to improve his record to 6-6-3 on the season.

For the third consecutive game, Castleton struck first with its first power-play goal coming with 3:02 left in the opening period. Cycling the puck, O'Malley fired a shot on net from the point that Southern Maine goaltender Anthony D'Aloisio kicked out in front. Kuziak was there to pick up the loose puck and drilled a low shot inside the left post as the Spartans took a lead they never relinquished into the first intermission.

Southern Maine's Michael Taormina was sent to the penalty box 45 seconds into the second period and the Spartans wasted little time to double their lead as Erwin finished a touch pass from Fizer at the 1:22 mark. After Southern Maine closed the gap on a goal by Adam Papayoanou less than three minutes later, Fizer returned the favor from Erwin on the power play with a one-timer goal 7:36 into the period. Both goaltenders stepped up from there as Castleton held a 3-1 lead after two periods.

Mulder highlighted the third period with multiple stellar saves to help the Spartans kill off two late penalties. The senior turned aside all nine shots he faced in the period, and the offense made it pay off with a pair of late insurance goals. Fizer tipped in a pass from Sikich to collect his second goal of the game shorthanded with 3:57 left in regulation, before Wiswell capped the scoring just 50 seconds later after beating a scrum in front of the net to give the Spartans their largest margin of victory since the season opener, 5-1. 

Southern Maine held a slight advantage in shots, 26-23. The Spartans finished 3-for-5 on the power play and successfully killed off all six man-advantage opportunities for the Huskies.

Castleton will return home to face Skidmore and No. 12/11 Hobart in the final weekend of the regular season Feb. 9-10. The Spartans will honor their nine seniors prior to the contest against the Statesmen.