Men's Hockey Returns Home for Pair of NEHC Contests

Men's Hockey Returns Home for Pair of NEHC Contests

CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton men's hockey team looks to return to its winning ways this weekend as it hosts nationally-ranked Hobart at 7 p.m. on Friday and Skidmore at 4 p.m. on Saturday in a pair of New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) contests at Spartan Arena.

Castleton (5-9-3, 1-8-1 NEHC) is coming off a hard-fought 3-3 draw at Southern Maine last Saturday, erasing a two-goal deficit late in the third period to come away with an important conference point. Ryan Ng cut the deficit to one with his second career goal before Glenn Wiswell netted the game-tying goal with less than eight minutes left on his way to earning NEHC Rookie of the Week honors.

The Spartans enter the weekend averaging 2.29 goals per game on offense. Caleb Fizer and Trevor Hanna have paced the offense with 10 points on four goals and six assists. Troy Taylor leads the defensemen with nine points from a goal and eight assists, while Matt Bloomer and Jacob Erwin have combined for 16 points on seven goals and nine assists. Mark Shroyer had a goal and an assist at Southern Maine and is tied for the team lead with three goals against conference foes this season.

Ryan Mulder has been a mainstay between the pipes over the last two weeks, starting every game since the beginning of the new year. The senior backstop is 4-3-3 with an .891 save percentage and 2.94 goals-against average in 10 starts. Wyatt Pickrell is 1-5-0 in six starts with a .903 save percentage and 3.64 goals-against average.

No. 15/14 Hobart (8-5-4, 5-3-2 NEHC), which has peaked at No. 6 in the national polls, is still searching for its first victory of 2018 after dropping back-to-back 4-3 decisions against Babson and UMass-Boston last weekend. The Statesmen defeated Castleton, 6-1, on their home ice in the first-ever meeting between the two teams in early November.

Hobart has been a strong offensive team this season, averaging 3.35 goals per game, good for third in the conference and 28th in the country. Six players are in double-digit point totals, led by Jonas Toupal's 15 (10g, 5a). Lawson MacDougall has collected 13 points all on assists, while Jordan Haskell has recorded seven goals and five assists. Zach Sternbach, Tanner Shaw, and Mike Faulkner are all tied with 10 points.

Alexander Connal and Frank Oplinger have split time in net for Hobart this season. Connal has made nine starts and is 5-3-1 with a .924 save percentage and 2.00 goals-against average, while Oplinger is 3-2-3 in eight starts with 197 saves and a 2.41 goals-against mark.

Skidmore (2-14-1, 0-9-1 NEHC) comes into the weekend still seeking its first conference victory after falling to UMass-Boston and Babson last weekend. The Thoroughbreds will play Norwich on Friday night before making the trip to Spartan Arena. Castleton topped Skidmore, 4-1, in November, behind a goal and two assists from Fizer. Wiswell, Hanna, and Corey Sikich each potted a goal in the win. 

Matt Muzyka leads the Skidmore offense in scoring with 10 points from four goals and six assists. Tim Allen has recorded three goals and five assists for eight points, while Adam Moodie sits third on the team with seven points on four goals and three assists. The Thoroughbreds have struggled in offensive production, ranking second to last in the country averaging 1.41 goals per game. 

Brandon Kasel has been the top goaltender for the Thoroughbreds this season, making 15 starts and posting a .906 save percentage to go with a 3.39 goals-against average. 

This will be the 25th meeting between Castleton and Skidmore, with the Spartans holding a 14-8-2 all-time advantage.