Panthers roll to fourth straight win, extend lead in MASCAC standings
SALEM, Mass. – Senior Mike Freitag (Westmont, Ill.) tallied four points on two goals and two assists Thursday evening as league-leading Plymouth State University skated past Salem State University, 5-2, in Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) men's ice hockey action at Rockett Arena.
The Panthers won their fourth straight game to improve to 10-7-3 overall while maintaining a solid hold on first place in the MASCAC with a 10-2-1 mark. Salem State drops to 10-9-1 overall and 7-6-0 in conference play, sharing second place with Westfield State, seven points back of the Panthers.
PSU scored twice in a 15-second span midway through the opening frame to take a 2-0 lead. Freitag hit the back of the net on a power goal that beat Salem State net minder Jason Pucciarelli (Newmarket, Ont.) top shelf, and the Panthers struck again as sophomore Mike Economos (Crystal Lake, Ill.) put one over the shoulder of Pucciarelli that barely crossed the plane and wasn't initially called a goal, but was overturned in favor of Plymouth State.
Down two goals early, the Vikings desperately needed to get on the board, and just minutes after the Panthers' goal Gabriel Cromp (Montreal, Que.E) answered with a slap shot off that rang in off the post and into the net to cut the Panthers lead to just one.
Plymouth State's rush continued to dominate in the second period as the Panthers outshot Salem State 18-11 and tallied two more scores. Junior Josh Woody (Sunderland, Md.) put home a one-timer that came from Andrew Wigg (Lantz, N.S.) with a man advantage that pushed the lead to 3-1. The Panthers would push their lead to 4-1 with another power play goal from Chad Barthelmess (Norristown, Pa.) with 2:29 left in the period.
The Vikings cut the deficit to 4-2 midway through the third on a 4-on-3 advantage as Andrew Bucci (Peabody, Mass.) re-directed a Cameron Banwell (Toronto, Ont.) slap shot, but Freitag finished off the scoring for PSU with his second of the game in the final minute to clinch the win.
Junior Gordon Ceasar (Oak Park, CA) stopped 34 pucks in the victory for PSU while Pucciarelli made 33 saves for Salem State.
The Panthers resume action Saturday when they face-off against the Falcons of Fitchburg State at 5:00 p.m. The Vikings travel to Westfield State Saturday to take on the Owls at 5:35 p.m.
(Courtesy of Salem State Sports Information)
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