Two championships. Two overtimes.
This is the last year before the MASCAC receives an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, but that hasn’t led to any letdowns in its first two championship games.
For the second year in a row, Fitchburg State and Salem State went to overtime. And for a second year in a row, the lower seed prevailed.
After being upset last year, the fourth seeded Falcons returned the favor to the No. 2 Vikings, knocking them off 6-5 after blowing an early lead, and then rallying to tie it.
“It was a great game,” Fitchburg State coach Dean Fuller told the Fitchburg Sentinel and Enterprise. “We jumped out to an early lead and we couldn’t hold it, but we knew that was a great team we were playing. They went up 5-3 in the third period and we battled back. … It’s a great experience for the kids, the whole program and the university.”
Thomas McAleer had two assists for the Falcons, including one on Travis Bertolloti’s game-tying goal midway through the third period. It was McAleer’s strike that gave Fitchburg a 4-3 double overtime win Thursday night against top seeded Massachusetts-Dartmouth.
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Saturday’s other championship game appeared poised to headed to double overtime, but Payden Benning’s second goal of the game helped the Colonels walk off the ice as back to back ECAC Northeast Champions.
When talking to Curry head coach Rob Davies after the game about there Colonels early penalty troubles, Davies paused for a second and said “Boy that seems like a day ago.”
Gotta agree on that one- between that marathon of a game and much of the prior week spent at various high school gyms for the the state basketball playoffs- my brain turned to absolute mush trying decipher almost four full periods worth of notes and turn them into something readable.
But back to those penalties. Curry took seven of them in the first period, although some of those were offest by three Wentworth infractions, a including a facemask major against Patrick Rice.
But the Colonels settled down, and after two penalties early in the third, remained out of the box the rest of the night.
“We tried making it a key point that we were going to come out and play physical,” Benning said. “Guys were overstepping their boundaries a little bit. I thnk we just took astep back and played a little smarter.”
Neither team was whistled during the overtime period, although I have to wonder if some of that was due to the refs calling a looser game given the circumstances.
Following the presentation of the the championship trophy, the conference announced the All-Conference teams, which consisted of forward Jeremiah Ketts (Johnson & Wales), defenseman Shaun Jameson (Wentworth), goaltender Chris Azzano (Wentworth), defender Joshua Pineiro (Curry), defender Mike Kavanagh (Curry) and Benning.