MANCHESTER, N.H. - Junior Goose LaCroix (Moretown, Vt.) scored his second unassisted goal of the game two minutes into sudden death overtime Saturday evening as Plymouth State University knocked off Saint Anselm College, 5-4, in the opening round of the 11th Annual Police Athletic League (PAL) Stovepipe Tournament, held at Saint Anselm's Sullivan Arena.
Plymouth State (3-2) will meet Brockport State (N.Y.) in the tournament championship game Sunday at 4:00 p.m. The Golden Eagles (1-9) picked up their first win of the season with a 7-5 defeat of Southern New Hampshire University in Saturday's first game. SNHU (3-1-2) and Saint Anselm (1-1-1) will play in Sunday's consolation game at 1:00 p.m.
PSU is making its second straight trip to the PAL Stovepipe title game. The Panthers knocked off Southern N.H. in the first round last year, 4-2, but lost the championship contest to Saint Anselm, 5-2.
LaCroix's first goal gave the Panthers a 4-3 advantage 9:10 into the third period, PSU's fourth lead of the day. But Saint Anselm answered for the fourth time, tying it at 4-4 with 3:53 to go in regulation. The Hawks had a decisive advantage in shots on goal in all three periods of regulation, and outshot the Panthers for the game by a 51-22 count, but sophomore goalie Karl Helgesson (Lerum, Sweden) was outstanding for the visitors, making 47 saves to secure the win.
Sophomore Deni Bojadzic (Gothenburg, Sweden) got PSU on the board first with a power-play goal at 5:16 of the opening period. Colin Fitzpatrick (Westwood, Mass.) evened the game at 11:04 before PSU regained the lead just 1:08 later on a tally by senior Rory Nickerson (West Chatham, Mass.) to make it 2-1 through one period.
Luke Jones (Stow, Mass.) evened the score for the Hawks for the second time at 9:24, but Plymouth State capitalized on its only power-play opportunity of the period three minutes later when sophomore Chris Cadieux (Nashua, N.H.) found the back of the net off an assist from Dennis Kane (Westford, Mass.)
The Hawks tied the game for the third time at 7:16 of the third when Tom Kerwin (Whitman, Mass.) evened things up at 3-3, but LaCroix and the Hawks' Matt Grazioso (Quincy, Mass.) traded third-period goals to set up the extra session.
In the overtime period, each team had shots on goal before LaCroix put one on net from the right faceoff circle. The puck trickled through the pads of Saint Anselm goalie Jason Rafuse (Nepean, Ontario) and just across the goal line at the 1:58 mark.
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