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PSU earns top seed in MASCAC Men’s Hockey Championship

Panthers to host semifinal next Tuesday at Hanaway Rink

            PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Plymouth State University has earned the top seed in the 2012 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Men's Ice Hockey Championship, which begins on Saturday, Feb. 25th with quarterfinal round action and moves to semi-final round play on Tuesday, Feb. 28th before concluding with the league championship game on Saturday, March 3rd.

            Plymouth State and second-seeded Salem State University earned byes into Tuesday's semi-finals and will await the winners of Saturday's quarterfinal round contests, which will feature third-seeded University of Massachusetts Dartmouth hosting sixth-seeded Westfield State University in a 4:30 p.m. face-off and fourth-seeded Fitchburg State University hosting fifth-seeded Worcester State University in a contest that faces off at 4:00 p.m.

            The winner of the Fitchburg State-Worcester State quarterfinal advances to take on Plymouth State in semi-final round action on Tuesday evening in Plymouth, N.H. at 6:00 p.m., while the UMass Dartmouth-Westfield State winner will square off with Salem State in Tuesday's other semi-final match-up in Salem, Mass. at 7:00 p.m.  The two semi-final winners will meet for the 2012 MASCAC Championship on Saturday, March 3rd at the site of the highest remaining seed.  This year's conference champion will earn the league's first-ever automatic berth into the NCAA Division III Men's Ice Hockey Championships.

            Plymouth State captured its first MASCAC regular season crown in just its third season of league play under head coach Craig Russell with a 15-6-3 overall mark and a 12-3-3 league slate.  The Panthers are led by junior forward Kyle Greco (Hillside, Ill.), who has notched 13 goals and 19 assists for 32 points, as well as junior goalie Jack Astedt (Angelholm, Sweden), who has posted 13 victories and a conference-best 2.32 GAA .  Salem State enters post-season play at 14-8-3 overall (11-4-3 in MASCAC action under head coach Bill O'Neill, and the Vikings are led in scoring by junior forward Nick Lampson, who has registered 19 goals and 15 assists for 34 points, and between the pipes by sophomore Ryan Sutliffe, who has a 2.49 GAA to go with 12 triumphs.

            UMass Dartmouth posted a 15-8-2 regular season mark and a 10-6-2 MASCAC slate under head coach John Rolli, and the Corsairs are led in scoring by senior forward Mike Owens, who has collected 20 goals and 17 assists for a league-leading 37 points, as well as junior netminder Ryan Williams, who has 12 victories and a 2.41 GAA.  Fitchburg State notched nine victories in regular season action, including a 8-7-3 slate in MASCAC play under head coach Dean Fuller, and the Falcons are paced in scoring by junior forward Trevor Lawler's 11 goals and 16 assists for 27 points and between the pipes by senior Bobby Leiser, who has four wins and a 3.03 GAA.

            Worcester State posted eight victories overall and five in league action under head coach John Guiney, and the Lancers are led by senior forward John Cahalane's seven goals and 13 assists for 20 points as well as senior goalie Bryan Kalczynski, who has eight wins and a league-best .920 saves percentage.  Westfield State rounds out this year's championship field after collecting seven wins overall and four in MASCAC action under head coach Bob Miele, as sophomore defenseman Billy Miller paces the Owls in scoring with three goals and 16 assists for 19 points while senior goalie Ian Wilson has posted three triumphs to go with a 3.39 GAA this season.

            Fitchburg State captured the 2011 MASCAC tournament title with a 6-5 overtime victory over Salem State in the championship game at Rockett Arena in Salem, Mass., after the Vikings had topped the Falcons by a 2-1 extra session final in the 2010 championship match-up.

2012 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference Men's Ice Hockey Championships

Saturday, Feb. 25  - Quarterfinals
     Game #1:  #5 Worcester State (8-13-3, 5-11-2) at #4 Fitchburg State (9-12-4, 8-7-3), 4:00 pm
     Game #2:  #6 Westfield State (7-13-5, 4-10-4) at #3 UMass Dartmouth (15-8-2, 10-6-2), 4:30 pm

Tuesday, Feb. 28 -- Semifinals
     Game #3:  Fitchburg State/Worcester State winner at #1 Plymouth State (15-6-3, 12-3-3), 6:00 pm
     Game #4:  UMass Dartmouth/Westfield State winner at #2 Salem State (14-8-3, 11-4-3), 7:00 pm

Saturday, Mar. 3 – Championship (at Highest Remaining Seed)
     Game #5:  Semi-Final Winners, TBA 

(Courtesy of MASCAC Media Relations)

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