Feb. 26, 2011
FITCHBURG, MA-The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's hockey team is now in position to claim their first Massachusetts Collegiate Athletic Conference championship.
The Corsairs scored once in each of the first two periods and added a pair of goals in the final period en route to a 4-1 victory over host Fitchburg State in the final MASCAC game of the regular season at the Wallace Civic Center Saturday. With the victory, the Corsairs clinched first place in the standings, and earned both the top seed for next week's playoffs, and the right to host all of their post-season conference games.
Freshman defenseman Ryan Hurd (Mound, MN/Rochester Ice Hawks) put the Corsairs on top in the first period, breaking a scoreless tie when he fired a slap shot from the point past FSU goaltender Robert Vorse at the 11:07 mark. Senior forward Joe Hill (Newburyport, MA/Valley Jr. Warriors), who won the face off in the Fitchburg State zone, and senior defenseman Adam Horgan (Clayton, NC/Jersey Hitmen), who slid the puck across the blue line to Hurd, drew the assists.
Sophomore forward Nick Marquis (Londonderry, NH/Valley Jr. Warriors) tapped home the rebound of a shot by sophomore forward Dave McDonald (Wakefield, MA/Valley Jr. Warriors) with each team a man short at 18:09 of the second period. Hurd also drew an assist.
Sophomore forward Dan Dempsey (Norwell, MA/Lebanon Valley) made it 3-0 when he scored a power play goal on a rebound at 7:50 of the third period. Hill and Hurd also assisted. The Falcons broke the shutout bid of UMass Dartmouth senior goaltender Colin Tracy (Medford, MA/Medford HS) when Thomas McAleer scored a power play goal with 1:22 remaining. FSU removed Vorse for an extra attacker, but senior forward Billy Manning (Stoughton, MA/Bridgewater Jr. Bandits) scored into an empty net in the final minute to seal the verdict. Hurd assisted, earning his fourth point of the game.
"We were a little slow getting started, but our first power play goal was important, as was outscoring them two to one on the power play," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach John Rolli. "The key goal was the goal late in the second period when we playing four on four that put us ahead, 2-0. We played very well, and it is good to win the league regular season championship and to host the semi-final game at Hetland."
Tracy stopped 32 of 33 shots, and his play was particularly important at the start of the game. "Collin Tracy was very sharp in the first 12 minutes of the game, when we were feeling our way," said Rolli. "We've won nine of our last 10 games and given up only 12 goals in those wins. We're playing our best hockey at the right time of the year, which is a good way to go into the tournament."
The Corsairs outshot the Falcons, 40-33. Tracy made 32 saves for UMD, while Vorse stopped 36 shots for FSU.
UMD improved to 18-6-1 and 13-4-1 in the MASCAC with the victory, while FSU fell to 15-9-1 and 9-8-1 with the defeat. UMass Dartmouth will return to action when they host a semi-final playoff game at the Stephan Hetland Memorial Ice Arena at 7:30 Thursday evening. Fitchburg State will host a first round playoff game Tuesday evening.
UMASS DARTMOUTH HOCKEY