WATERVILLE VALLEY, N.H. - Freshman Topo LaCroix (Moretown, Vt.) scored his first career goal with his team a man down, breaking a 1-1 third-period tie Saturday night and Plymouth State University went on to capture a 3-1 victory over Nichols College in an ECAC Northeast Conference men's hockey game at Waterville Valley Ice Arena.
LaCroix scored the shorthanded goal at the 11:13 mark of the third period, with his brother, sophomore Goose LaCroix (Moretown, Vt.) and junior Nick DeBaggis (Topsfield, Mass.) assisting on the play. PSU's special teams were key all night, as the Panthers also scored a power play goal and killed off seven penalties, including a major and two 5-on-3's. Junior Dennis Kane (Westford, Mass.) clinched the win for PSU with 10 seconds remaining with an empty net goal.
Freshman goaltender Karl Helgesson (Lerum, Sweden) had another strong game for the Panthers, stopping 26 of 27 shots. He improved his goals against average to 2.42 and his saves percentage to .929.
Plymouth State outshot Nichols 17-9 in the first period, but the Bison ended the frame with a 1-0 lead when sophomore Mark Shinder (Los Angeles, Cal.) scored with 1:21 remaining, with freshmen Jack Avetissian (Glendale, Cal.) and Brian Buonomo (Edison, N.J.) assisting. The Panthers evened the score at 13:18 of the middle period on a power play goal by freshman Chris Cadieux (Nashua, N.H.), set up by senior Michal Bodnar (Olomouc, Czech Rep.) and freshman Deni Bojadzic (Gothenburg, Sweden).
PSU finished with a 36-27 advantage in shots. Sophomore Ryan Davis (Detroit, Mich.) made 33 saves for Nichols.
Plymouth State, 3-5-2 overall and 1-1-1 in the conference, takes a break for final exams and the holidays. The Panthers return to action on Thursday, Jan. 13, with a conference game at Stonehill (7:00 p.m.). Nichols, 1-7-0 overall and 0-2-0 in the Northeast, has one more game before the break, Sunday (Dec. 12) at home against Southern New Hampshire (8:00 p.m.).
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