March 1, 2010
NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA-The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's hockey team will go where they have not gone before when they begin play in their first Massachusetts College Athletic Conference post-season tournament Tuesday evening. The Corsairs will visit Westfield State at 7:35 p.m. Tuesday. The winner of the game will visit Fitchburg State Thursday night in a semi-final game. The championship game is scheduled for Saturday at the site of the highest remaining seeded team. For the Corsairs to be successful, they would have to win three games in five days.
UMass Dartmouth brings a 10-14-1 record into Tuesday's game, and was 5-1-2-1 in the MASCAC for 11 points. The Corsairs are seeded fifth. Westfield State, which is seeded fourth, is 13-9-3 overall and was 10-5-3 in the MASCAC for 23 points. The Owls won two of the three meetings between the teams during the season, taking a 7-3 victory at home January 12th and winning, 5-2 February 11th at the Hetland Ice Arena. The teams played a 2-2 overtime tie at Hetland November 19th.
The Corsairs are coming off a 6-3 win against first place Fitchburg State Saturday, and have won three games in a row for the first time this season. WSC lost at home to Plymouth State Saturday, 6-5, and the loss dropped the Owls into fifth place.
"Westfield will be a formidable opponent at home, coming off a strong season," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach John Rolli. "At the same time, we are entering the playoffs with momentum, and a high level of confidence that we did not have for most of the regular season. Everyone shoots to be playing their best at this time in the year. Ironically, that is the case for us. Scoring had been an issue for us earlier this year, but we've scored 20 goals in our last three games. I think that our 6-3 win over first place Fitchburg could be a cornerstone for a playoff run."
Both teams qualified for the Eastern College Athletic Conference Northeast playoffs last season, the Owls in their first year of varsity hockey after a 20-year hiatus, and the Corsairs after advancing to the NCAA Division III Championships in each of the previous two seasons. "Fourteen of our players have playoff experience, and eight of them have played in championship games during the past three seasons," said Rolli. "Momentum and confidence are two intangibles necessary to put together a playoff run, and this team is brimming with confidence and momentum heading into the playoffs." . UMASS DARTMOUTH HOCKEY