RUTLAND, Vt. – Junior Brian Leonard registered his first career points and senior goalie Wyatt Pickrell made 37 saves for the Castleton men's ice hockey team as the Spartans opened their 2019 slate with a 5-1 non-conference victory over Saint Michael's on Friday.
Castleton was outshot 38-16 in the contest, but stingy goaltending and five different goal-scorers propelled the Spartans to the win.
Leonard tallied his first career assist on Connor Rider's third goal of the season in the second period, and later scored his first collegiate goal at the 6:58 mark of the third period on a feed from Asa Palker on an end-zone faceoff play.
Caleb Fizer gave Castleton the 1-0 lead 1:43 into the contest on a tight-angled shot on a turnover in the corner. Rider's goal on a 2-on-2 rush at the 7:43 mark of the middle period gave the Spartans a 2-0 advantage, but Thomas Flick scored a power play goal 50 seconds later for the Purple Knights to cut their deficit to one.
Sam D'Antuono and Noah Muller picked up the assists for Saint Michael's (3-8-2). Tim Decker started in goal for the visitors and took the loss after allowing a pair of goals. He was replaced at the near midway point of the game due to injury. Chris Johnson allowed two goals on six shots in relief.
Kyle Kazeriod gathered a deflection in Castleton's defensive end before racing around the Purple Knight defense and forcing a shot in short side to give the Spartans a 4-1 lead with just over 13 minutes remaining.
With the net empty and on the power play, Kuziak scored an empty-net shorthanded goal with 5:10 remaining on the clock to complete the scoring.
Castleton (3-8-4) will return to New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) action on Friday, Nov. 11 at Skidmore in the Spartans' first of 10 consecutive league matchups to wrap up the regular season.