SALEM, Mass. - Salem State lost to Westfield State 5-4 in the Vikings' season opener on Thursday evening at Rockett Arena. The Owls improve to 2-0-1 on the season and 1-0 in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) while the Vikings slip to (0-1) in the conference.
Westfield State opened up the scoring early within the first minute of the game when Jake Ratcliffe (Auckland, New Zealand) beat goalie Sean Cleary (Barnstable, Mass.).
However, Samuel Gagnon (Ile-Bizard, Quebec) picked up a slashing penalty, giving Salem State a power-play opportunity. The Vikings capitalized when Callum Hofford (Woodbridge, Ontario) passed the puck to Matt Yianacopolus (Wakefield, Mass) for a slapshot that ripped into the right corner of the net, tying the game at 1-1.
Later in the first period, Bret Parker (Hanover, Mass.) was called for a hooking penalty. On the power play, Danny Ferri (Chelmsford, Mass.) sent a pass through the Vikings' defenders that landed up Tristan Theriot's (Fort Wayne, Ind.) stick for Westfield's second goal before the first period ended.
In the second period, Gagnon recovered a puck on the weak side of the net and scored the Owls third goal of the game putting them up 3-1 at 5:38.
The Owls went up 4-1 when Aaron Clancy (Quincy, Mass.) found F.X. Girard (St. Lazare, Quebec) while Cleary was out of position for the Owls' third unanswered goal.
Gagnon scored on a power play extending the Owls' lead to four goals at 5-1 before Connor Irving (Beverly, Mass.) recovered a puck on a rebound to bring the score at 5-2 at the 17:29 mark of the second.
The Vikings scored twice in the third to make it a one-score game. Brooks Mitzel (Rapid City, S.D.) scored on the left side of net to narrow the deficit at 5-3 and Parker Wood (Rochester Hills, MI) tallied another goal to bring the Vikings back into the game making the score 5-4 with 2:15 left.
The Vikings had an opportunity to tie the game with a faceoff with 24.5 seconds left, but the Owls were able to hold on.
Thierry Messervier (Montreal Quebec) stopped 19 shots while Cleary made 35 saves in goal. Westfield State went 25-39 (.641) on faceoffs.