The jumble in the MASCAC has now turned into a legitimate quagmire.
As the conference stands now, three teams (Westfield State, Fitchburg State, and Salem State) are tied for first with 14 points each, with Plymouth State solidly in the picture two points behind.
At this time last week, Westfield State was alone atop the standings.
But Fitchburg State’s four point weekend, with wins over Westfield and Salem, helped propel the Falcons into a three way tie for first. Salem State was the only other first place team to pick up a point on the weekend, tying Framingham State 2-2 on Saturday, while the loss to Fitchburg State was the Owls’ only conference game of the week. (They beat non-conference opponent Stonehill, 4-2, on Thursday).
The sweep for the Falcons comes after losing to both the Vikings and Owls earlier in the season by one goal (4-3 overtime loss to Salem State on Nov. 21 and a 6-5 loss to Westfield State on Dec. 2).
“Salem beat us in overtime and Westfield got us with a power-play goal with 13 seconds left in the game, so we were definitely focused on getting points,” Fitchburg State head coach Dean Fuller said.
The Falcons jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period against Salem State Thursday, but at the end conclusion of the first the score was tied at three.
The Vikings scored the lone goal of the second period, but Fitchburg responded when Chris Costigan tallied his second goal of the night just nine seconds into the third period. John Vets’ goal 2:47 into overtime sent Fitchburg home winners.
“We came out and played a great first period,” Fuller said. “The second period we didn’t really put it together and in the third period we established our forecheck again.”
Fitchburg led 3-2 after one period against Westfield on Saturday. But four second period goals turned a nailbiter into a laugher, as the Falcons got eight goals from eight different skaters, something Fuller pointed to as a reason for his team’s success.
“Everyone is contributing across our four lines,” he said. “We have a very strong balance. If that continues, we should be competitive.”
Fuller points to an improved power play (close to 30% the past month) as another key to the Falcons, who ran their winning streak to six with the victory over the Owls.
Fitchburg State will travel to Worcester State Thursday night before hosting Plymouth State on Saturday afternoon.
The Falcons beat the Lancers 5-4 on December 5 and downed the Panthers 8-4 on Dec. 10.
“We have to consistent, we can’t just beat the two teams that our ahead of us,” Fuller said.
He’s also looking forward to being a part of a tight race for first that appears ready to go down to the wire.
“The beauty is everyone we have left on our schedule is a league game,” he said. “You’ve got to like the way the league is playing.”
Worcester State’s Andrew Evans was honored as the conference’s Goalie of the Week. The senior posted 36 and 32 saves in wins over Framingham State and the University of Massachusetts-Darmouth, respectively. With two conference wins on the week, the Lancers doubled their total on the season … Fitchburg State’s Chris Riggs earned Player of the Week honors after posting two assists in the 5-3 win over Salem State and a goal and an assist in the 8-4 victory against Westfield State …In non-conference action, Plymouth State defeated Franklin Pierce 2-1 on Saturday, while Salem State fell to Bowdoin 6-2 Tuesday.
Don’t Forget About Us
A week ago, it was the Wentworth Leopards getting all the ink in this space. And deservedly so, as Wentworth had yet to be beaten in ECAC Northeast play and was No.13 in the USCHO.com Division III poll. But second place Curry, who was also unbeaten in league play, showed they aren’t handing the top spot over to the Leopards quite yet.
The Colonels scored two goals in each period to defeat visiting Wentworth, 6-2, on Thursday and move within one point of the top spot, which is where the two teams remain as of now. Curry actually moved into first briefly over the weekend, knocking off Salve Regina, 4-1, on Saturday. But Wentworth feasted on the last place Seahawks Monday night, blasting them 10-3 and pushing their conference record to 0-7. Salve Regina is now is now 1-17 overall after losing to non-conference opponent Assumption Tuesday. Curry’s four game winning streak was snapped Tuesday night, as the lost 6-2 to ECAC East opponent Babson.
Nichols’ Matt Roberts was the conference’s Player of the Week. The junior notched two goals and two assists in Wednesday’s win over Johnson & Wales Wednesday and added a game winning power play goal versus Suffolk Saturday. Zach Kohn, who scored the game winning goal against Johnson & Wales, was honored as Rookie of the Week. The forward added a pair of assists and another goal against Wildcats and posted two assists against Suffolk.
The Bisons downed Western New England 7-2 Wednesday night to move into a tie for third place with Becker, who lost 4-2 to Suffolk Tuesday. Becker’s Jake Rosenthal shared weekly goalie honors with Matt Cooper of Johnson and Wales. Rosenthal posted his second shutout of the season last Wednesday, turning away 25 shots in a 2-0 win over Salve Regina. Cooper recorded a shutout in his collegiate debut, making 22 saves in a 5-0 win against Western New England Saturday night. Like the Seahawks, it’s been a struggle thus far for the Golden Bears. They lost to Suffolk 3-1 Thursday, and have only one win on the season, a 5-2 win over Salve Regina on December 5.
Found this piece, on Westfield State alum Peter Laviolette and his impact on the Philadelphia Flyers, courtesy of the MASCAC website. The Flyers beat Laviolette’s former team, the Carolina Hurricanes, 4-2 on Saturday. And then the Bruins get throttled by them on Sunday … ugh. Brett Favre’s team has finished playing, so you know what it’s time for. Looks like I won’t be tuning into ESPN anytime soon. On a non-sports note, this season of 24 is shaping up to be pretty good. Every year I wonder how much more they can suck out of Jack Bauer, and so far I have no complaints. Let’s hope they go the Seinfield route and go out on top instead of dragging it on.
As always, [email protected] with any comments or questions.