NEW BEDFORD, Mass. – Junior Mike Kelly (Stoneham, Mass.) notched both of the Corsairs goals as No. 4 seed UMass Dartmouth ice hockey fell to the fifth-seeded Westfield State Owls, 4-2, in the first round of the 2016 MASCAC Tournament Saturday night at Hetland Arena.
UMass Dartmouth finishes its season at 7-15-4, while the Owls move on to take on top-seeded Salem State in the MASCAC semifinals next Saturday. Kelly's goals came in the second and third periods as he led the Corsairs with his two points on the game. Westfield State's Jackson Leef (Fort Wayne, Ind.) picked up two assists to pace the Owls.
The Owls got on the board quickly in the contest, scoring 7 minutes into the game when senior captain Kylian Kirkwood (Copper Cliff, Ont.) fired a shot from the point through traffic to beat Corsair goalie Drew Michals (Newton, Mass.) high glove-side. Westfield State carried its one-goal lead into the first intermission.
The Corsairs would even the score on the man-advantage to kick off scoring in the second, when Kelly received a backhanded saucer pass from sophomore Mike Sones (Waterdown, Ont.) on a breakaway to beat Owls' goalie Jonathan LoParco (Vaughan, Ont.) stick side.
Less than six minutes later, Westfield would regain the lead when Roman Pfennings (Grefrath, Germany) collected the rebound from a Leef shot, putting it into the open side of the net.
Halfway through the third period, the Owls extended their lead to two when sophomore Cory Wilson (Maitland, Ont.) won the faceoff, taking the puck behind the net and passing to the slot where he found Nik Passero (Fort Erie, Ont.) who beat Michals between the legs.
Kelly would pick up his second score of the game when sophomore Casey Shea (Woburn, Mass.) won the face-off cleanly and fed it directly to Kelly, who rifled the puck past LoParco from the point to cut the Owls lead in half.
The Corsairs could not find the equalizer, though, as Westfield shut the door late. Senior captain Dalton Jay (Hamilton, Ont.) tallied his team-leading 18th goal of the season, causing a Corsair turnover in the neutral zone and finding the empty net with only 23 ticks remaining on the game clock.
Michals would pick up the loss between the pipes for the Corsairs despite making 34 saves on the afternoon. His counterpart LoParco stopped 36 shots in the victory.
Only UMass Dartmouth would capitalize on the power play in the contest. The Corsairs struck once on three chances, while the Owls came up empty in both opportunities. Both teams fired 38 shots on the contest.