Panthers reach 20 wins for first time, earn #2 seed in MASCAC Tourney
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Junior Dan Dupell (Collegeville, Pa.) tallied two goals and an assist and freshman Ludvig Steenberg (Stockholm, Sweden) collected three assists Tuesday evening as Plymouth State University defeated Westfield State University, 7-4, in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) men's ice hockey regular season finale at Hanaway Rink.
The Panthers wrap up the regular season with a 20-4-1 mark overall, setting the program record for wins in a season. PSU finishes runner-up in the MASCAC with a 15-2-1 league record, as Salem State (16-2-0 in league play) stopped PSU's four-year run as regular season champions. Westfield State completes the regular season at 12-13 overall, and fifth place in the MASCAC with a 7-11 record.
Plymouth State took a 2-0 lead in the first period while out-shooting the visitors, 11-3. Sophomore Riley Flanagan (Weymouth, Mass.) scored his first goal of the season six minutes in, deflecting in a shot from the point by junior Matt Vermillion (South Lyon, Mich.) off a pass from senior Andrew Wigg (Lantz, N.S.) Junior Michael Economos (Crystal Lake, Ill.) snapped a shot over the goalie's shoulder from the right circle after a drop pass from junior Ian McGilvrey (Omaha, Neb.) at 13:48; it was Economos' 13th of the season, tops on the team and tied for fourth in the league.
The Owls got on the scoreboard eight minutes into the second period when freshman Carl Greco (Niagara Falls, Ont.) snapped a shot from the right circle thru a screened goaltender for his third of the season. PSU grabbed the momentum back with two goals in a 21-second span late in the period; junior Baxter Strachan (Sioux City, Iowa) poked a centering pass from Steenberg inside the right post for his first of the season with 3:07 to play, and freshman Quinn Carroll (Amherst, N.H.) roofed a shot off a pass from junior Ryan Callahan (Londonderry, N.H.) with 2:46 on the clock.
Westfield got one back before the end of the period when sophomore Roman Pfennings (Grefrath, Germany) intercepted a Panther clear attempt and set up Joseph Napoli (Deer Park, N.Y.) at the right circle and Napoli finished off his fifth goal of the season for make it 4-2 after two.
PSU scored two goals to open the third period. Freshman Colby Lanceleve (Stweiacke, N.S.) redirected a shot from the point by senior Colt Smelstor (Fairfax, Va.) for his eighth of the season, and Dupell potted his first of the game, ripping a shot over the goalie's shoulder as to open up a comfortable 6-2 lead with 12 minutes remaining.
The visitors made things interesting with consecutive goals in a 29-second span with five minutes remaining. Sophomore Lenny Caglianone (Matawan, N.J.) snuck one in from a bad angle along the left end line with 5:51 remaining, and Pfennings pulled with Owls to within two with his seventh of the year with 5:22 on the clock.
Westfield pulled its goalie with more than two minutes remaining and Dupell scored an empty net goal to round out the scoring.
Senior goalie Gordon Ceasar (Oak Park, Calif.) made 18 saves to earn the victory and improve to 17-3 on the season. Junior Jonathan LoParco (Vaughan, Ont.) made 32 saves for Westfield.
PSU will have a bye in the quarterfinals of the MASCAC Tournament and will host a semifinal game at Hanaway Rink next Tuesday, Mar. 1, at 6:00 p.m. Westfield State will travel to UMass Dartmouth Saturday for a quarterfinal match-up.
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