RUTLAND, Vt. – On a day that Castleton honored its three seniors, the men's hockey team concluded its season with a 9-2 defeat to nationally 15th-ranked New England College on Saturday.
Keenan Haase scored a hat trick for the Pilgrims who, despite the win, remained in fifth-place in the New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) with a league record of 9-4-5 (16-4-5 overall). The Spartans finish their campaign at 4-17-4 (2-14-2 NEHC).
Prior to the game, Castleton honored its three seniors: Dan Fitzgerald, Wyatt Pickrell, and Caleb Fizer. Following the game, the Castleton Blue Line Club named junior Troy Taylor the 2018-19 Men's Hockey Fan Favorite.
CJ Valerian and Daniel Berqvist each finished with a goal and two assists, while Carlos Fornaris and Nikita Pintusov both added a goal and an assist. Also for the Pilgrims, Chris Maratea, Connor Fries, and Nicholas Rein each pitched in a pair of assists. Connor Inger and Mike Whitehair scored the remaining two goals for New England College as 12 players registered at least one point.
The Spartans controlled play early in the first period but were not able to mark the scoreboard. The Pilgrims netted their first goal at 9:16, then two more sent the visitors to the first intermission with a three-goal cushion. Castleton hit the post twice in the first period.
Then, NEC scored three more in the second, including one goal each on the power play, penalty kill, and at even strength. The Spartans scored both of their goals in the third period.
Anthony Pupplo picked up the win in goal after making 25 saves on 26 shots through 52:54 of play. Andrew Kormos stopped five of six shots he saw in relief. Castleton used all three of its goalies as they each surrendered three goals. Pickrell started and was tabbed with the loss.
New England College will move onto the NEHC Quarterfinals to take place on Saturday, Feb. 16. The league will announce all of the official playoff matchups on Monday.