Panthers face No. 3 UMass Dartmouth in Saturday's final
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The top-seeded Plymouth State University men's ice hockey team is back in the title game of the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Tournament for the eighth time in nine years and looks to become back-to-back champions against third-seeded University of Massachusetts Dartmouth at Hanaway Rink on Saturday (Mar. 7) at 7:00 p.m.
PSU, the top seed for the fourth straight year, punched its ticket to the championship with a gritty, 4-2 win over fourth-seeded Westfield State University on Tuesday. The Corsairs advanced after upsetting second-seeded Fitchburg State University, 4-0, on the road the same night.
Doors open at 6:00 p.m. and there are no advanced ticket sales for the game. Plymouth State season passes are valid for all MASCAC Tournament games. The league has produced a digital program available at https://bit.ly/2x80nmk.
PSU (14-9-3) extended its unbeaten streak to six straight games (5-0-1) with Tuesday's victory. Sophomore Mike McPherson (Somerville, Mass.) notched a pair of goals and senior Andreas Pettersson (Trollhattan, Sweden) made several dynamic saves to advance. The Panthers held leads of 2-0 and 3-1, but each time the margin got to two goals Westfield State answered right back. PSU held on to a 3-2 advantage over the final 34 minutes, before an empty net goal in the final seconds closed out the win.
If Plymouth State has been hot, UMass Dartmouth (13-11-3) has absolutely been on fire since January. The Corsairs posted a fourth straight shutout in Tuesday's blanking of the Falcons and have gone 11-3-2 since the calendar changed to 2020. Senior Steven Leonard (Rockaway Park, N.Y.) scored the eventual game-winner with 4:49 left in the opening frame before adding a second tally in the third period, while freshman Daniel Davidson (Surrey, British Columbia) stopped all 41 shots he faced.
Plymouth State swept all three meetings with the Corsairs this season, winning 2-1 and 3-1 on the road, and topping UMD by a 7-3 margin at Hanaway Rink in January. McPherson and junior Jake Gerbner (Havertown, Pa.) each have two goals and two assists in head-to-head matchups, while Leonard has a goal and two assists over the three games for the Corsairs.
Pettersson got the nod between the pipes in all three contests for Plymouth State, going 3-0 while combining for 90 saves and 1.67 goals against. Davidson and sophomore Chris Stangarone (White Plains, N.Y.) split time in goal for UMD. Davidson totaled 63 saves and a 3.72 GAA in 96:46, while Stangarone stopped 42 shots and posted a 3.01 GAA while playing 79:51.
The Panthers are looking to capture back-to-back crowns for the first time in program history. PSU is 3-4 all-time in the MASCAC finals and 0-2 against UMass Dartmouth in the postseason with both games being played in Plymouth. The Corsairs skated to a 2-1 win in the 2013 championship game and upset the Panthers, 3-1, in the 2018 semifinal round. UMD is 1-1 all-time in the title game.
The winner of tomorrow's contest will claim the MASCAC's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
Additional information regarding the MASCAC Tournament can be found on the conference's website, www.mascac.com.
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