WESTFIELD, Mass. - Plymouth State University overcame a two-goal third-period deficit Saturday evening with three unanswered markers to post a 6-5 comeback victory over Westfield State College in a key MASCAC men's ice hockey game.
The teams entered the regular season finale tied for third place in the MASCAC with 23 points apiece. The Panthers improved to 16-8-1 overall and 12-5-1 in conference play, locking up the No. 3 seed in next week's MASCAC Tournament, while the Owls dropped to 13-9-3 overall and 10-4-3 in conference play. The 16 wins for PSU matches the 2005-06 Panthers for the second-most wins in a season in school history.
Both teams will be at home for MASCAC quarterfinal games this Tuesday, Mar. 2, the third-seeded Panthers hosting No. 6 seed Worcester State at 6:00 p.m. and the fourth-seeded Owls entertaining No. 5 seed UMass Dartmouth at 7:35 p.m.
Trailing 5-3 entering the third period of Saturday's game, PSU got goals from sophomore Bryan Kriner (Newport, R.I.) at the 5:10 mark and freshman Matt Aponte (Plano, Texas) at 8:49 to deadlock the score, and freshman Seth Phelan (Bristol, Conn.) notched the game-winner on a breakway with 3:23 remaining in regulation. Six players scored goals in Plymouth State's balanced offense.
Plymouth jumped out to a 2-0 lead midway thru the first stanza on goals in a 56-second span by sophomore Chris Zaremba (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and freshman Tim Visich (Mount Pleasant, Mich.) The Owls quickly tied the score on a breakaway from junior Dennis Zak (Dover, N.J.) and a power play marker from sophomore A.J. Shiverdecker (Kettering, Ohio).
Westfield outscored Plymouth 3-1 in the penalty-filled second period to take its 5-3 lead. Senior Casey Mignone (Ramsey, N.J.) scored two goals in the first half of the stanza and sophomore Brandon Castro (Cranston, R.I.) added with a goal with 2:08 left in the period. Freshman Sean Foley (Weymouth, Mass.) scored the only goal for the Panthers in the period, setting up the third period PSU comeback.
Zak finished with four points for Westfield (one goal, three assists) and now has an even 100 career points. Zak played his freshman season at UMass Boston.
Plymouth State finished with a 36-29 advantage in shots on goal. Westfield State was whistled for 18 penalties for 95 minutes while the Panthers were called for 14 penalties for 52 minutes. The Owls were 3-for-7 on the power play while PSU was 1-for-7 with the man advantage.
(Courtesy of Westfield State Sports Information)
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