Junior defenseman Zach Hepler
NEW BEDFORD, MA -The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's hockey team will hit the road for their second playoff game, traveling to Salem State to play the second-seeded Vikings in the semi-finals of the Massachusetts Collegiate Athletic Conference playoffs Tuesday evening. Face-off at SSU's Rockett Arena is set for 7:00 p.m.
UMass Dartmouth, the third-seeded team in the tournament, brings a 16-8-2 overall record into the game. The Corsairs were 10-6-2 in the MASCAC and earned 22 points. Salem State is 14-8-3 and comes off a first round bye after going 11-4-3 in MASCAC play for 25 points.
The Vikings held a 2-0-1 advantage over UMass Dartmouth during the regular season. The Corsairs overcame a 3-0 deficit to earn a 3-3 tie at the Hetland Arena November 19th. Salem State won at Rockett, 3-1 on January 17th, and then won at Hetland, 6-1 on February 9th.
"Salem is the only team we haven't beaten this year, and going 0-1-2 just shows the problems that lie ahead for us," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach John Rolli "They are clearly the most explosive team in the conference, with a solid defense and an all-star goaltender in Ryan Sutliffe. We played well twice against them the first two times we played them, only to have an abysmal performance at home a few weeks ago in which we gave up three shorthanded goals and two power play goals."
The Corsairs will look to stay out of the penalty box. "The more we can play them even strength, the better our chances will be," said Rolli. "Hopefully, we can play five on five for most of the night."
Plymouth State will host Worcester State in the Tuesday's other semi-final game. The winners will meet Saturday for the championship and the MASCAC's automatic berth in the NCAA tournament at the home of the highest remaining seed.