Weekend East playoff wrap: Feb. 29

Anthony McVeigh’s two goals, including the overtime winner, completed Utica’s comeback and upset over Manahattanville in the ECAC West playoffs on Saturday night, earning the Pioneers a date in the final with top-seeded Hobart (photo: Jeff Pexton).

Well, it was most certainly a Super Saturday in all of the conference tournaments that saw favorites win, shocking upsets, overtime thrillers and a championship game postponed due to an outbreak of Mumps.

There was lots of excitement and drama and for the teams remaining, one step climbed in pursuit of a conference title and more.

Here is the recap for the East.

ECAC Northeast

The semifinals are set following the weekend’s quarterfinal games that saw the seedings almost hold to form. Wednesday’s matchups will see top-seeded Endicott hosting Wentworth and Nichols hosting Salve Regina.

Alex Larson recorded his first shutout of the season and five different Bison scored in Nichols’ 5-0 win over Becker. The first line of Paul Prescott, Frank Butler and Tyler Beasley combined for two goals and three assists to lead the way for the defending champions.

The goalies stood out in the Rhode Island war between Salve Regina and Johnson and Wales. Joey Ballmer made 38 saves in surrendering just one goal, but was outdueled by the Seahawks’ Blake Wojtala, who made all 24 saves needed to earn the shutout in the 2-0 win.

Suffolk and Wentworth kept the drama on the final entrant alive into Sunday evening as the Leopards upset the fourth-seeded Rams by a score of 4-3 in overtime. Wentworth’s Jake Flynn notched the overtime winner and added an assist as well, while goalie Joel Miller made 31 saves in the win.


The championship round will see top-seeded Hobart hosting third-seeded Utica next Saturday in the championship game.

Hobart continued its home-ice dominance with a convincing 3-0 win over Neumann on Saturday night. Tanner Shaw scored two goals for the home team, while Frank Oplinger picked up his tenth win of the season and the shutout, making 27 saves.

Utica pulled off the upset of second-seeded Manhattanville by coming back from a 3-1 deficit entering the third period. Trent Samuels-Thomas and Anthony McVeigh scored to tie the game in regulation before McVeigh added the overtime winner for the Pioneers.


The semifinal round is now set following Saturday’s quarterfinal games that saw Westfield State and Fitchburg State advance to take on Salem State and Plymouth State, respectively, on Tuesday night.

The Owls won on the road, downing Massachusetts-Dartmouth by a 4-2 score with Jackson Leef setting up two scores and Jonathan LoParco making 36 saves in the win.

The Falcons knocked off Framingham State by 4-0 score with Charles Jakobsson making 25 saves earning the shutout and John Celli supplying all the offense LoParco would need with two goals and an a assist.


The scheduled championship game between Stonehill and St. Anselm was postponed due to an outbreak of mumps on the campus of St. Anselm and with several of the members of the hockey team. The NE-10 will schedule a new date for the game and that date is still pending.


The final for the conference championship is now set as both top seeds advanced in semifinal play on Saturday. Massachusetts-Boston will host Babson next Saturday for the first NEHC title.

Albee Daley led the way for the Beacons on home ice on Saturday, recording a hat trick for the Beacons in their 6-3 win over the University of New England. Andrew Crawford also added a goal and an assist from the blueline for the winners, who outshot the Nor’easters by a 48-28 margin.

Babson hosted Norwich in the other semifinal and much like the first game on home ice back in December, throttled the Cadets in a 5-0 win. Rob Devaney scored a goal and added two assists for the Beavers, who got 24 saves from goalie Jamie Murray in the shutout.


Apparently, home ice doesn’t mean too much in the NESCAC tournament as three of the four quarterfinal games were won by the road team, including another Tufts upset from the eighth-seeded position.

The Jumbos used 36 saves from Mason Pulde and goals from Sean Kavanaugh and Keith Campbell to upset Williams 2-1. The Ephs now must wait and hope their regular-season record will be enough to gain them a bid to the national tournament.

As mentioned in my preview last week, someone in the Hamilton-Middlebury game was going to have to do something in extra time that hadn’t been done in the regular season where the conference games ended in ties. Liam Moorfield-Yee made 40 saves for the visiting Panthers and Jake Charles scored the game winner just over seven minutes into overtime for the 2-1 win

Amherst and Bowdoin figured to be a tight defensive and goaltending show, but someone forgot to tell the teams that as Amherst scored six goals in the third period to come back from a 4-2 deficit after 40 minutes of play and post an 8-5 win in Terry Meagher’s last game behind the Bowdoin bench. Austin Ho scored twice for Amherst, including the game-winning goal in an eventful first seven minutes of the third period that saw five goals from the two teams combined, including one goal from each team just seven seconds apart in the first two minutes of the third period.

Second-seeded Trinity achieved something they had not been able to do as a top seed the past two seasons as they downed Colby to win their quarterfinal matchup by a score of 3-1. Michael Hawkrigg scored a goal and set up the other two in the Bantam win.


The championship game hosted by Plattsburgh next Saturday pits the top-seeded Cardinals against Geneseo.

Geneseo traveled to second-seeded Buffalo State, who had been on a strong six-game winning streak, and showcased some high-powered offense in a 6-1 win over the Bengals. David Ripple posted four points, while SUNYAC Player of the Year Stephen Collins and linemate Trevor Hills added a goal and two assists each for the winners.

Plattsburgh renewed its long-standing rivalry with Oswego and just like the two regular-season games, the outcome was decided in overtime. Michael Radisa potted the game winner just over 10 minutes into the extra session to send the 20-3-3 Cardinals on to the championship round.

D-III Independents

The two-game set went to the visitors from Canton by virtue of a 4-3 overtime win on Friday and a 4-4 overtime tie on Saturday. George Curry scored the game winning goal on Friday for the Kangaroos, while Saturday’s star was Eagles’ goalie Anthony D’Urso who made 49 saves as Canton outshot Daniel Webster by a 53-26 margin, but had to rally from a three-goal deficit to earn the tie.

Weekend Biscuits

David Ripple, Geneseo – the forward scored two power-play goals and added two assists as the Knights downed second-seeded Buffalo State on the road to set up a championship matchup with Plattsburgh next Saturday.

Mason Pulde, Tufts – the goaltender made 36 saves as the eighth-seeded Jumbos knocked off top-seeded Williams on the road by a 2-1 score. The eight seed beating the one seed was the second year in a row that Tufts has pulled off the feat, after beating Trinity last season.

Albee Daley, Massachusetts-Boston – scored three goals in the Beacons’ 6-3 win over UNE. Daley scored on the power play, shorthanded and added an empty-net goal to post the hat trick in the NEHC semifinal win.

Anthony McVeigh, Utica – the Pioneers forward completed the comeback from a two-goal deficit against Manahattanville, scoring the game-tying goal in the third period before adding the game winner in overtime.

Jake Flynn, Wentworth – scored a goal and added an assist in Wentworth’s overtime quarterfinal win over Suffolk on Sunday night. Flynn’s overtime winner came just over 10 minutes into the extra session and advanced Wentworth to a semifinal game with top-seeded Endicott.