NEW BEDFORD, Mass. – A high-energy MASCAC quarterfinal matchup between #4 University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and #5 Westfield State University was decided 13 minutes into the overtime session when Kai Kapossy (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) sent a rebounded puck into the vacated net to advance the Corsairs to the semifinal round with their 5-4 victory at Hetland Arena.
Score: UMass Dartmouth 5, Westfield State 4
Records: UMass Dartmouth 11-12-3 | Westfield State 10-14-1
How It Happened
UMass Dartmouth grabbed early momentum on Jonathan Ruiz' (Williamstown, N.J.) MASCAC leading 25th goal of the season when the junior rifled a one-timer off the pass of Steven Leonard (Rockaway Park, N.Y.), giving the Corsairs the 1-0 lead. Moments later, Westfield State pulled even when Nik Passero (Fort Erie, Ont.) mimicked the Corsair goal, converting his own one-timer from the right faceoff circle following a pass from fellow-countryman Carl Greco (Niagara Falls, Ont.).
In the second period, the Corsairs gained the margin again when Brendan McDonough (Wilmington, Mass.) collected the rubber from the right post where he ripped the go-ahead power play opportunity with his eighth goal of the season. The advantage didn't last long as the Owls responded minutes later when Adam Blackman (Mansfield, Mass.) ricocheted into the net off a defender's chest to knot it at two.
With a 3-2 deficit in the third, the Blue & Gold upped the intensity on both sides of the ice and the effort paid off with 12:50 to go as a Jerry Laakso's (Tempere, Finland) slap shot from the point was re-directed to the back of the net by Ruiz, giving the senior his second of the game to level it at three apiece. With 7:48 left, the intensity remained, and so did the result when Casey Shea (Woburn, Mass.) got his team the lead in the same fashion. Westfield State forced the game to extra-time when Francois-Xavier Girard (St. Lazare, Quebec) posted his second goal of the game with seven minutes remaining in regulation.
The teams came out of the lockeroom following regulation re-juiced matching one another in terms of intensity and tempo, each coming away with opportunities to seal the game. After their golden-goal was overturned due to a high-stick, the Corsairs put it away with 6:53 left in the first overtime when Kapossy returned the rebound off the pads of the Owls keeper, tucking it under the top post to send the team into a frenzy.
Inside the Numbers
- The Corsairs and Owls have met three consecutive years in the MASCAC opening round with Westfield State taking the previous two meetings.
- With the win, UMass Dartmouth has advanced to their sixth semi-final appearance in the last ten seasons with the last time coming in 2014-15.
- UMass Dartmouth evened the overall season-series when facing Westfield State, 2-2.
- With two goals, Ruiz sits atop the NCAA Div. III statistical leaders in goals per game (1.00) and goals (26).
- At 4.32 goals per game, the Corsairs offense is tied for eighth in Div. III.
- The Corsairs edged out the Owls 38-33 in the shot chart with 18 of those shots coming in the second period.
UMass Dartmouth hits the road for the remainder of the MASCAC tournament with its biggest test coming on Feb. 27 when it travels to take on the top-seed in Plymouth State University.