NEW BEDFORD, Mass. – Salem State used efficient special teams play to go 3-of-6 on power play chances on Thursday evening, skating past UMass Dartmouth ice hockey by a 6-2 score at Hetland Arena.
Salem State rises to 18-5-0 on the year and 14-2 in the MASCAC to remain in first place. UMass Dartmouth slips to 7-13-3 overall with a 6-8-2 slate in conference play.
Viking sophomore Michael Casale (Stoney Creek, Ont.) netted a hat trick on the evening, posting a goal in all three periods to up his season total to 13. Six different Corsairs registered points on the contest as sophomores Mike Sones (Waterdown, Ont.) and Brandon Berkley (Scottsdale, Ariz.) buried the goals, both in the first period.
The opening stanza was a back-and-forth affair resulting in a 2-2 score at the first intermission. Casale buried the first score of the night on what would also be the first of 11 combined power plays on 26 penalty minutes. Off the faceoff, senior Casey Miller (Billerica, Mass.) controlled the puck behind the Corsair net before passing to Casale, who tapped the puck back-door behind goalie Drew Michals (Newton, Mass.).
Less than three minutes later, UMass Dartmouth responded back on its second power play chance. Junior Mike Kelly (Stoneham, Mass.) dropped the turned-over puck to Casey Shea (Woburn, Mass.) below the goal line. Shea then completed a cross-ice tape-to-tape pass to Sones, who one-timed the shot from the point past Salem State goalie Marcus Zelzer (Green Bay, Wisc.).
With the goal, Sones now sits tied for second nationally with eight power play goals on the season and tops the MASCAC with 10 power play points.
At 14:51, sophomore Dan Holland (Woburn, Mass.) pulled the visitors ahead again on the Vikings' second man-advantage opportunity. Berkley then registered the first even-handed goal of the night, as senior John Sartell (Wakefield, Mass.) forced a turnover near the right dot and fed the puck to senior Mike Grassi (Reading, Mass.). Grassi unloaded a slapshot from the point, and Berkley cleaned up the rebound.
Casale struck again to begin scoring in the second period as Salem State pulled ahead for a permanent lead. Junior Brandon Platt (Pittsburgh, Pa.) possessed the faceoff, taking a wrist shot at Michals who made the save. Casale was there to flip in the rebound on a wide-open net.
Miller found the back of the net for the Vikings once more in the second period, making the score 4-2. The Corsairs couldn't covert on 14 shots during the flurry of six penalties on the stanza.
The Vikings cashed in two more for good measure in the third period. At 6:17, Casale put in his third tip-in score for the game, collecting the rebound from an Andrew Bettencourt (Riverside, R.I.) shot. Senior Cam Moniz (Seekonk, Mass.) beat Michals for another rebound score two minutes later.
For the evening, Michals finished with 32 saves, including 15 in the first period, while Zelzer turned aside 26 shots. The Vikings outshot the Corsairs 38-28, as UMass Dartmouth was able to convert on only one of its five man-advantages.
The Corsairs continue their final push for MASCAC seeding on Saturday, traveling to Fitchburg State for a 4 p.m. start time. The Vikings are on the road at Framingham State, slated for a 7:40 p.m. puck drop.