Panthers capture share of third straight MASCAC title
WESTFIELD, Mass. – Plymouth State University captured a share of its third straight Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) men's ice hockey regular season championship Tuesday evening, defeating Westfield State University, 5-2, in the regular season finale for both schools.
Plymouth State (13-10-2 overall) shares title with Salem State as both teams finish the MASCAC regular season with 11-5-2 records. Salem State (14-9-2 overall) earns the No. 1 seed for the MASCAC postseason tournament as it owned a 2-0-1 regular season record vs. PSU. Salem and Plymouth earned first round byes in the six-team conference tournament.
Westfield State, 10-7-1, is the No. 3 seed and hosts No. 6 seed Worcester State on Saturday at 5:35 p.m. in the quarterfinals.
The host Owls stunned Plymouth State by jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the opening three minutes. Freshman Maxime Richard scored 33 seconds into the game and classmate Jackson Leef tallied a power play goal 17:03 showing in the clock.
But the Panthers shut down the Owls the remainder of the game, especially in the third period when they owned a 16-5 shots advantage.
PSU sliced the lead in half on a goal by sophomore Josh Woody (Sunderland, Md.) with 42 seconds remaining in the first period. The Panthers scored two second-stanza goals to take a 3-2 lead. Freshman Tord Thoresen (Oppegard, Norway) tied the score 12:26 into the period and classmate Erik Strom (Gothenburg, Sweden) scored the game-winning goal with 2:44 left on the clock.
The visitors added two goals in the game's closing minutes. Junior Mike Freitag (Westmont, Ill.) clinched the key road victory by stealing the puck and scoring an unassisted goal with 1:33 remaining, and sophomore Zach Fox (Sandown, N.H.) added an empty net goal with 1:08 remaining.
Sophomore goalie Gordon Ceasar (Oak Park, Calif.) was credited with 33 saves for PSU while Westfield netminder Ian Perrier had 34 stops.
PSU, which takes an eight-game unbeaten streak (6-0-2) into the post-season, will host a MASCAC semifinal game next Tuesday, Mar. 4, at 6:00 p.m. at Hanaway Rink against the winner of the Westfield State-Worcester State first-round game.
(Courtesy of Westfield State Sports Information)
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