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Mass. Maritime upsets PSU in ECAC Men’s Lax Tournament

(Game Box

            PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Sophomore Ryan Linn (Bourne, Mass.) scored the game-winning goal with eight seconds remaining in regulation play Wednesday evening to lift fifth-seeded Massachusetts Maritime Academy to a 10-9 upset victory over fourth-seeded Plymouth State University in the opening round of the ECAC Division III New England Men's Lacrosse Tournament at Panther Field.

            Linn's goal, his second of the game, capped a furious fourth-quarter rally for the Buccaneers.  MMA outscored the home team 4-0 in the final period, including one in the first minute of the frame by sophomore Jake Bickley (Wilbraham, Mass.) and a pair by junior Connor Burke (Del Mar, Calif.) a little over a minute apart midway through the period to deadlock the game at 9-9.

            The Buccaneers, who won their fifth game in a row to improve to 9-6, advance to the semifinal round and will face top-seeded Endicott College Saturday at 3:00 p.m. in Beverly, Mass.  No. 2 seed Wheaton College and No. 3 seed New England College will meet in the second semifinal at 6:00 p.m., with the championship game slated for 3:00 p.m. Sunday at Endicott.  PSU completes its season at 7-9.

            Junior Brian Burke (Del Mar, Calif.) led the Buccaneers with three goals and one assist, while Linn and Connor Burke finished with two apiece and Bickley, sophomore Craig Nichols (Marshfield, Mass.) and freshman Will Doucette (Manchester, Mass.) chipped in with one each.

            Juniors Brian Giroux (Wolfeboro Falls, N.H.) and Tim Hadley (New London, N.H./Kearsarge) led the Panthers with three goals apiece.  Senior Dave Mokos (Nottingham, N.H./Londonderry) added two and senior Dan Maiorana (Walpole, Mass.) scored one, and sophomore Andrew Eriksen (Beverly, Mass.) finished with two assists. Hadley also won 14 of 17 face-offs and picked up six ground balls, and senior Conor McCullough (Dover, N.H./Oyster River) collected a game-high eight ground balls.

            Plymouth State scored the only four goals of the first period to seemingly take control of the game.  MMA scored twice in the second frame to cut the deficit in half, but Hadley came right back with a goal for PSU to make it a 5-2 Panther margin at the break.

            The visitors twice pulled to within a goal in the third period, but PSU had an answer each time and took a 9-6 advantage into the fourth quarter.  But that's when MMA came alive and staged its comeback.

            Junior James Hitchings (Dover, Mass.) made 15 saves for the Buccaneers to record the victory, while sophomore Kevin Hayes (Beverly, Mass.) finished with 10 stops in the Panther goal.

            PSU finished with a 51-38 advantage in shots, but MMA had more shots in the final period by a 14-8 count.  The Panthers won 17 of the 22 face-offs and kept the Buccaneers to 13-of-27 on clear attempts but MMA pulled it out down the stretch.

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