Panthers knocked from first place in MASCAC
SALEM, Mass. – Junior Marcus Zelzer (Green Bay, Wisc.) stopped 19 shots as the Vikings of Salem State University defeated the Panthers of Plymouth State University, 3-1, Thursday night in a key Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference matchup at Rockett Arena.
With its 10th straight victory, the Vikings temporarily take over first place in the MASCAC as they move to 12-2 in the league and 16-5 on the season. The loss moves the Panthers to 16-4-1 on the year while they fall to 11-2-1 in the MASCAC.
Michael Casale (Stoney Creek, ONT) opened the scoring for the home team when he capitalized on a Panther miscue to score his seventh goal of the season. Salem State was able to add to their lead with 40 seconds on the clock and a man-up as Dan Holland (Woburn, MA) one-timed a pass from Brad Jones (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) that bounced off the left pad of the goalie that landed on the tape of Andrew Bettencourt (Riverside, RI) who put it home to enhance the Vikings lead to 2-0.
PSU got on the scoreboard just a minute into the second period when Andrew Wigg (Lantz, N.S.) created a two-on-one with Dan Dupell (Collegeville, PA) that resulted in Dupell's eighth of the season to cut Salem State's lead to 2-1.
The Vikings got a lucky bounce of the puck that fell onto John Needham's (Medford, MA) stick with not one Panther in sight as he raced down the ice to score five-hole to regain a two-goal lead at 3-1. Salem State ran into trouble 12 minutes into the period when captain Cam Moniz (Seekonk, MA) was called for a five-minute penalty for interference. Despite the five minutes, Plymouth State was unable capitalize as the Vikings killed their third penalty of the game.
Nothing but outstanding goalie play from both sides highlighted the final period as the Vikings got off six shots on senior goaltender Gordon Ceasar (Oak Park, Calif.), but they were denied each time. Michael Economos (Crystal Lake, IL) had a chance to cut the deficit to just one with 3:30 remaining, but was stopped by Zelzer's best friend, the crossbar. The Vikings defense held off each Panthers' attack to hold on for the 3-1 victory.
With the win, Zelzer increases his league best win percentage to .929 and ties Ceasar for the most wins by a conference goalie this season with 13, as he is now 13-1 on the year after winning his eleventh start in a row. Ceasar stopped 23 shots in the loss as his record is now 13-3 on the season.
Both teams play MASCAC games again on Saturday as PSU hosts Framingham State on Senior Night at Hanaway Rink at 6:00 p.m. contest, and Salem State entertains Fitchburg State at 2:00 p.m.
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