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October 29, 2013

PSU Men’s Ice Hockey picked to claim MASCAC Championship

Panthers aiming for third straight regular season title

            WESTFIELD, Mass. – The Plymouth State University men's ice hockey team is the preseason pick to capture the 2013-14 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) championship in a vote of the league's head coaches.

            Plymouth State and Westfield State University each received three first-place votes in the poll, but PSU finished on top of the grid with 41 points to Westfield's 37.  Defending MASCAC Tournament champion University of Massachusetts Dartmouth finished third in the poll, with Salem State University winding up fourth with the final first-place vote.  The bottom three teams in the poll are Fitchburg State University, Worcester State University and Framingham State University.

            The Panthers, who finished with a 19-7-1 overall record last year to match the program standard for wins in a season, will be seeking their third straight MASCAC regular season championship under head coach Craig Russell after posting a 14-3-1 conference mark a year ago.  PSU won its first MASCAC Tournament crown in 2012, the first conference championship in the program's 40-year history, before being upset by UMass Dartmouth in last year's title game, 2-1.

            PSU drops the puck on the 2013-14 season this Friday night with a visit to Norwich University for a 7:00 p.m. face-off.  Norwich is ranked third in the first Division III national poll released by uscho.com. After three road games to open the season, the home opener at Hanaway Rink is Tuesday, Nov. 12 against MASCAC rival Salem State.

            Senior defenseman Dave Walters (Ottawa, Ont.) will serve as captain of the Panthers this season, with senior forward Phil Arnone (Litchfield, N.H./Winchendon School) and junior defenseman Zach Sarig (Reading, Pa.) taking on the roles of assistant captains.

            The Panthers will play a 25-game regular season schedule, including 18 conference games. The MASCAC tournament is set to begin on Saturday, Mar. 1, and will include the top six teams.  The title game is Saturday, March 8, and the champion will receive an automatic berth into the NCAA Division III Tournament.

 (Courtesy of MASCAC Media Relations)

2013-14 MASCAC Men's Ice Hockey Preseason Coaches' Poll

1 Plymouth State (3) 41
2 Westfield State (3) 37
3 UMass Dartmouth 35
4 Salem State (1) 34
5 Fitchburg State 25
6 Worcester State 16
7 Framingham State 8

(First-place votes in parenthesis)

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