Ranked #3 in the nation

Along with the unveiling of a school-record No. 3 national ranking on Monday in the latest USCHO.com Poll, Castleton men’s ice hockey also debuted a new goal song this weekend. And the song “Beat Dat Beat” by D.J. Pauly D was stuck on repeat over the Public Address system at Spartan Arena.The Spartans scored 14 goals in total, beating Tufts 8-3 on Friday night and Connecticut College 6-2 on Saturday afternoon.

Castleton has tied the program record for most wins in a season at 17-2-0. The previous mark was set during the 2006-07 campaign (17-6-4). The Spartans have six regular season games remaining as they attempt to break the school record.

Against the Jumbos, Castleton scored early and often as Ben Schoeneberger notched a pair of goals and the Spartans went into the first intermission ahead 4-1.

For head coach Alex Todd, part of the game plan was to let his offense put the pressure on Tufts early in the contest, and Castleton did exactly that.

“We have had games this year where we’ve played well and didn’t score, and we’ve made it very difficult,” Todd said. “There is tension and worry and tonight we played well and also finished [goals] which is what you need to do and get teams on their heels and start ending the game early, and I think we were able to do that tonight.”

The Jumbos responded with a quick goal in the second at 1:19 as Tom Derosa stuffed home a rebound into the lower right corner of the net to cut the deficit to 4-2.

Tufts momentum was short lived as Castleton’s first line, arguably one of the best in Division III, took over and put the game on ice. Josh Harris whistled a wrist shot past Tufts goaltender Evin Koleini at 11:15 on the power play to make it 5-2. He tallied his second goal of the game (shorthanded) only 56 seconds later as he and Stuart Stefan executed perfectly on a 2-on-1 break.

Todd was also pleased with the transition game, which generated numerous Castleton odd man rushes.

“It was the most we have had all year, and it was one of those things we talked about this week,” said Todd about Castleton’s transition game. “We understand how to break the puck out and when we have the guys in position we got to attack. I thought tonight every time the guys were in position the guys got their heads up and attacked, and that allowed us to get all those odd man rushes.”

On Jan. 29, the Camels opened up the scoring at 9:44 of the first period on Michael O’Donnell’s fourth goal of the season, but Castleton’s offense, now tied for second place in team offense in Division III, averaging 4.68 goals per game, potted five unanswered goals and never looked back.

Stefan jumpstarted the five-goal outburst at 10:44 of the first with his ninth goal of the season on the power play and freshman forward Colin Murray gave the Spartans a 2-1 lead at 14:24, ripping a wrist shot over the glove of Conn. College goaltender Andrew Margolin on assists from Cody Ayers and Tyler Atkins.

In the second, Jonathan Lafrance buried the eventual game winner at 11:21 with a blistering slap shot 10 feet away from the blue line.

Ross Herzog, Ayers and Justin Alonzo rounded out the scoring while freshman goaltender Erick Cinotti made 40 saves over the weekend to improve to 8-1-0 on the season.

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