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March 2, 2013

UMD nips Plymouth State for MASCAC Men’s Hockey title

Panthers winds up season at 19-7-1

            PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Senior goaltender Ryan Williams (Milton, Ont.) made 37 saves Saturday evening to lead second-seeded University of Massachusetts Dartmouth to a 2-1 victory over defending champion and top-seeded Plymouth State University in the 2013 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Men's Ice Hockey Championship game at Hanaway Rink.

            Williams was named Most Valuable Player in the title game for his efforts.  UMD got a second-period goal from senior Nick Marquis (Londonderry, N.H.) that tied the game at 1-1, and sophomore Steve Ginand (Milford, Mass.) tallied the game-winner with 7:21 remaining in the third period.

            UMass Dartmouth,12-7-8, receives the MASCAC's automatic berth into the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament, which begins with first-round games on Wednesday.The Corsairs earned their 12th conference championship, their first MASCAC title, and their fourth trip to the NCAA Championships and first since they made three consecutive trips to the NCAAs, the last during the 2007-08 season as a member of the Eastern College Athletic Conference Northeast. It marked the sixth time UMD had won a conference championship on the road.

            Plymouth State, two-time MASCAC regular-season champion, winds up its season with a19-7-1 overall record, matching the 1985-86 Panther team (19-7-0) for the most wins in a season.

            The MASCAC has had four different men's hockey champions in its four-year existence.  Salem State University captured the 2010 title, followed by Fitchburg State University in 2011 and PSU last year.

            It was a tight defensive battle the entire game, beginning with a scoreless first period.  UMD didn't get its first shot on goal until eight minutes in, and PSU finished the period with a 12-6 shot advantage.

            Both teams scored goals in a 42-second span midway through the second period, both coming on shots that the goalies would like back.  PSU broke through first when junior Phil Arnone (Litchfield, N.H.) fired a shot from a bad angle in the right corner of the zone that made its way through traffic and into the back of the net. Less than a minute later, an errant exchange between the PSU goalie and a defenseman left a loose puck in front of the net and Marquis pounded it home to tie the game at 1-1.

            Both Williams for UMD and senior Jack Astedt (Angelholm, Sweden) continued to stonewall the offenses.  Ginard made one shot count at 12:39 of the third period with some quick stickwork in the slot before sliding a backhander past Astedt just inside the right post, with junior Greg Girtatos (Tyngsboro, Mass.) and freshman Swann Boisvert (Blainville, Que.) assisting.  Williams did the rest as UMD held on for the win.

            PSU finished with a 38-22 advantage in shots, including 11-4 in the third period.  Astedt finished with 20 saves in the Panther net. The was only one penalty called in the game, a second-period minor against UMD for delay of game.

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