Castleton just keeps rolling. This past week, Castleton’s path stormed through the ECAC Northeast and the MASCAC. The Spartans entered last weekend’s game as the No. 3 team in the country in the latest USCHO.com Division III top 15 poll. (Disclosure: I voted them No. 1) and they’re 9-0 so far this season. Castleton has opened the season with the nation’s longest winning streak.
If we want to get into semantics, Division I Merrimack, at 9-0-1, has the nation’s longest unbeaten streak since the start of the season.
Castleton combined for 15 goals against their two nonconference opponents from the ECAC Northeast and MASCAC. Castleton defeated Plymouth State, 5-2, last Tuesday (November 22), then defeated Becker 10-0 Saturday at the Rutland (Vt.) Invitational, outshooting the Hawks 43-18 and forcing the Hawks to use three goalies in the loss: Jake Rosenthal (11 saves), who was pulled early in the second after giving up five goals, in favor of Tom Natoli (15 saves), who was pulled early in the third for Shaun Millerick (seven saves) after giving up three goals. Rosenthal, by the way, took the loss.
However, Castleton’s early-season dominance brings up this: So far, there hasn’t been a lot of dominance in the ECAC Northeast or in the MASCAC, which might be a good thing. It’s a long season — one made up of ebbs and flows for any team.
Only one team from either conference has been ranked in USCHO’s top 15 poll so far this season: Curry, the No. 15 team in the country in the preseason poll. However, the Colonels have seemed to find their form, as they’ve opened conference play 3-0.Ryan Barlock has averaged nearly a point a game in Curry’s first five games, including five points on the power play, as Curry has scored 27 goals in its first five games.
And consider Johnson and Wales. The Seahawks are 4-1-1 and 1-0-1 in conference to open the season, and have scored 32 goals in six games, including seven from Danny Kaufmann, while allowing an average of two goals a game.
Plymouth State has had the strongest start of the MASCAC teams, going 4-1-0 and 2-0 in conference play. The Panthers’ only loss this season? It came at the hands of Castleton.