Panthers head into post-season on five-game unbeaten streak
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Sophomores Zach Sarig (Reading, Pa.) and Mike Freitag (Westmont, Ill.) scored a pair of goals apiece Tuesday evening as Plymouth State University skated past Fitchburg State University, 5-1, in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) men's ice hockey regular season finale at Hanaway Rink.
The Panthers, who clinched the MASCAC regular season title a week ago, head into the post-season on a five-game unbeaten streak (4-0-1), improving to 18-6-1 overall record (14-3-1 MASCAC). PSU is also 11-1 at home this winter. Fitchburg State wraps up the regular season at 10-13-2 overall and fifth place in the conference with a 9-8-1 mark.
Sarig, a sophomore defenseman, scored both his goals on wrist shots from the right point, while Freitag tallied a pair of short-handed goals, including an empty netter in the closing seconds. Sarig now leads all defensemen in the MASCAC with 19 points on eight goals and 11 assists, while Freitag, who also had an assist, is tied for second on the team in scoring with 24 points (nine goals, 15 assists).
Sarig scored the only goal of the first period on a Panther power play, snapping a wrist shot that snuck past the goalie just inside the left post. Freitag made it 2-0 four minutes into the second period, stealing the puck in the neutral zone, streaking down the right side and firing a slap shot past the goalie far side.
PSU pulled away in the third period, as Sarig took a drop pass at the point from freshman Andrew Wigg (Lantz (N.S.) and fired another wrister through traffic and into the net at 3:32. The Falcons got on the board at 8:44 when PSU senior goalie Jack Astedt (Angelholm, Sweden) made a stop on a shot by sophomore Brett Nussbaum (Boca Raton, Fla.) but classmate Sean Loebs (Cresskill, N.J.) stuffed the rebound under Astedt to cut the margin to 3-1.
Freshman Brantley Sherwood (San Anselmo, Calif.) tacked on another PSU goal with five minutes remaining after a nice centering pass from behind the net by Freitag, and Freitag wrapped up the scoring with an empty-net goal with five seconds remaining.
Astedt made 31 saves to earn the victory and improve his season record to 14-4-1. Junior Randy Wolcott (East Haven, Conn.) made 19 saves as Fitchburg State out-shot the home team, 32-24.
Fitchburg State will be the No. 5 seed in the upcoming MASCAC Tournament, and will visit fourth-seeded Westfield State University Saturday at 7:00 p.m. for a first-round game. PSU earned a first-round bye on Saturday, and will host a semifinal contest next Tuesday, Feb. 26, at 6:00 p.m. at Hanaway Rink.
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