WATERVILLE VALLEY, N.H. - Johnson & Wales University maintained pace with the ECAC Northeast Conference leaders Saturday night, defeating Plymouth State College 8-3 in a conference ice hockey game at Waterville Valley Ice Arena.
The Wildcats improve to 13-7-0 overall and 10-1-0 in the Northeast. JWU moves into a tie for second place with Lebanon Valley (10-2-0 in the Northeast), a point behind league-leading Wentworth (10-1-1), with a game-in-hand over both schools. PSC dropped its sixth in a row and dipped to 4-10-3 overall and 2-7-2 in league play.
Three Wildcats collected two goals apiece. Freshman John Brennan (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) had a pair of short-handed goals as well as two assists, sophomore Manu Mau'u (Torrance, Cal.) scored two goals and an assist, and junior Matt O'Connor (Plaistow, N.H.) added a pair of goals for the winners. Junior Chris Thunman (Stockholm, Sweden) and junior Shaun Jackson (West Haven, Conn.) were also goal-scorers for JWU.
Freshman Dennis Kane (Westford, Mass.) scored two goals for Plymouth State, with classmate Rory Nickerson (West Chatham, Mass.) assisting on both scores. Sophomore Mitchell LaFleur (Levittown, Pa.) also found the net for the Panthers.
After each team scored once in the opening period, PSC actually took a 2-1 lead with Kane's first of the night (and team-leading 10th of the season) seven minutes into the second stanza. But JWU tallied five unanswered goals, including three short-handed markers, to take a 6-2 lead. Kane added a power play goal for PSC late in the middle period, but the Wildcats put up the only two goals of the third period and skated away with the win.
Sophomore Nick Lacroix (Manchester, N.H.) earned the win for JWU with 28 saves. PSC freshman Kyle VanDingstee (Skaneateles, N.Y.) made 20 saves before being relieved by classmate Chris Hyson (Colchester, Conn.), who stopped all three shots he faced.
PSC continues a four-game homestand with a conference game Wednesday against Suffolk (6 p.m.). JWU is also back in action Wednesday with another conference meeting at Fitchburg State (7 p.m.).