Panthers clinch share of fourth straight MASCAC regular season title
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Senior Mike Freitag (Westmont, Ill.) scored the game-winning goal with 3:43 remaining in the third period Thursday evening to lift the Plymouth State University men's ice hockey team to a 3-2 victory over the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) contest at Hanaway Rink.
The victory gives the Panthers at least a share of their fourth consecutive MASCAC regular season title, and assures PSU of the top seed in the upcoming MASCAC Tournament for the third time. Plymouth State has won six straight games to improve to 12-7-3 overall and 12-2-1 in conference play, sitting eight points ahead of second-place Westfield State.
The Corsairs overcame a 2-0 deficit to tie the game at 2-2 late in the second period, but Freitag's game-winner sent UMD to its fourth straight loss and records of 6-14-2 overall and 5-8-2 in the MASCAC.
PSU led 2-0 after the first period on goals by junior Josh Woody (Sunderland, Md.) and sophomore Mike Economos (Crystal Lake, Ill.), both by poking in a loose puck in the crease. Woody finished off his 10th of the season after some nice passing from Freitag and junior Andrew Wigg (Lantz, N.S.) six minutes into the game, and Ecomonos followed with his 12th of the season on a Panther power play with seven minutes left in the period.
The Corsairs got back in the game in the second period, firing 18 shots on PSU junior goalie Gordon Ceasar (Oak Park, Calif.). UMD got on the board at the 3:45 mark when freshman Michael Palmer (North Grafton, Mass.) stole the puck behind the Panther goal and fed classmate Brandon Berkley (Scottsdale, Ariz.) in front for his second of the season. The Corsairs pulled even with 1:22 left in the period on a power play when junior Brandon Gilmore (Quincy, Mass.) walked in from the right boards and fired his eighth of the season past Ceasar.
Each team had two power play chances in the third period but neither could score until Woody set Freitag up in the slot and Freitag buried his 10th of the season for the game-winner. The reigning MASCAC Player of the Week, Freitag has five goals and four assist in his last three games, and six goals and eight assists in his last six outings.
Ceasar and UMD sophomore goalie JJ Solloway (Derry, N.H.) each made 29 saves on the night, with Ceasar improving his record to 11-4-3 on the season.
PSU is idle for a week, hosting Worcester State University in a MASCAC game next Thursday. UMD returns home to host Salem State at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday.
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