Strong Opening Period Leads Corsairs to Victory

Strong Opening Period Leads Corsairs to Victory

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth men's ice hockey team road a three-goal opening period to its first win of the 2014-15 season against Westfield State University on Saturday evening at Hetland Arena, 5-4.

The Corsairs (1-3-2, 1-2-2 MASCAC) had 13 different student-athletes register a mark in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference win, with three players tallying their first scores of the season and six adding their first assists.

Just over five minutes into the game, sophomore Mike Kelly (Stoneham, Mass.) kicked off the scoring when he beat the net-minder off a feed from Michael Palmer (North Grafton, Mass.) and Matt Baldino (Woburn, Mass.). Junior captain John Sartell (Wakefield, Mass.) and freshman Jaret Babych (North Vancouver, B.C.) scored their second and third strikes of the year, only twenty-seconds apart to give UMass Dartmouth a 3-1 lead after one.

Following a power-play goal by Westfield State in the beginning of the second period, freshman Joe Echelmeier (Doylestown, Pa.) delivered a man-up score of his own to increase the Corsair's lead to two goals, once again. Junior Mike Restuccia (Malden, Mass.) and Kelly set up the rookie for his first collegiate mark of his career.

With a one score lead in the midst of the final stanza, defenseman Kevin Choi (Gardena, Calif.) put home  the game-winning score off a rebound  following a saved shot attempt from teammate Jon Houk (Richboro, Pa.).

The Owls (5-2-0, 3-1-0 MASCAC) produced a well-balanced scoring attack, with four players each adding a mark in the scoring column.  Senior TJ Powers (East Greenwich, R.I.) logged a goal halfway through the first period to tie the game at one-all. Westfield State managed to take advantage of one of its five power play opportunities in the second, when senior Frank Zuccaro (Newmarket, Ontario) found the back of the net off a set up pass from Dalton Jay (Hamilton, Ontario) and Lenny Caglianone (Matawan, N.J.).

After doubling UMass Dartmouth's shot total in the second period, the Owls continued to apply offensive pressure in the third. Captain Dan Loughlin (Methuen, Mass.) cut the deficit in half with his first mark of the season with 12-minutes remaining in regulation.

In their final attempts to push the contest into extra-time, Westfield pulled its goalie with 11-seconds left. With a man-advantage, Powers had two attempts in the final seconds from just outside the crease, but was stoned by sophomore JJ Solloway (Derry, N.H.) as the final horn sounded.

Solloway, who turned away 38 shots in the last two periods, recorded a total of 48 saves to capture his first win of the season. For Westfield State, senior Ian Perrier (Whitehorse, YT) stopped 29 shots in the effort. The Owls held an advantage in shots (52-34) and power-play attempts (5-3).      

UMass Dartmouth returns to the ice at 7 pm on Tuesday, November 25, when the Corsairs travel to Babson for a non-conference affair. Westfield Stat returns to action on Tuesday when the Owls travel to Franklin Pierce for a 7 pm game.