Panthers head into playoffs winners of eight of last nine games
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Senior Chad Barthelmess (Norristown, Pa.) scored a pair of goals Tuesday evening, including the game-winner, as Plymouth State University defeated Westfield State University, 5-1, in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) men's ice hockey regular season finale at Hanaway Rink.
PSU, which had already clinched the MASCAC regular season title and the top seed in the upcoming conference tournament, tallied five unanswered goals after Westfield took an early lead. PSU heads into the post-season as winners of eight of their last nine games, improving to 14-8-3 overall and 14-3-1 in conference play. The Owls wrap up the regular season at 11-12-2 overall and 8-8-2 in the MASCAC, tying Fitchburg State University for third place in the conference.
Sophomore Erik Strom (Gothenburg, Sweden) contributed a goal and two assists to the Panther offense, while sophomores Dan Dupell (Collegeville, Pa.) and Ryan Callahan (Londonderry, N.H.) chipped in with a goal and an assist each. Senior Zach Sarig (Reading ,Pa.) added a pair of helpers, giving him a league-leading 20 assists on the season. Junior goalie Gordon Ceasar (Oak Park, Calif.) improved to 13-4-3 on the season with 26 saves on 27 shots.
Westfield jumped on the board first with seven minutes to go in the first period when freshman Cory Wilson (Maitland, Ont.) scored for the Owls. PSU answered just a minute later when Callahan tipped in a shot by Sarig, and Barthelmess potted what would turn out to be the game-winner with 2:23 left in the opening frame, also deflecting in a shot by Sarig.
Neither team managed a goal in the second period, and PSU extended the margin to 3-1 early in the third as Dupell converted a touch pass from freshman Riley Flanagan (Weymouth, Mass.) at the 3:43 mark. Strom pounded home a power play goal during a 5-on-3 situation midway through the period, and Barthelmess rounded out the scoring with a minute remaining when he snapped a shot from the left circle over the goalie's shoulder into the top right corner of the net.
PSU finished with a 33-27 advantage in shots. Westfield senior goalie Ian Perrier (Whitehorse, Yukon Terr.) made 28 saves in the setback.
Top-seeded PSU earns a first-round bye in the upcoming MASCAC Tournament, and will host a semifinal game at Hanaway Rink next Tuesday, Mar. 3, against an opponent to be determined. Westfield State will host a quarterfinal game this Saturday against an opponent to be determined.
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