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Panthers Edge Vikings 5-4

Panthers Edge Vikings 5-4

SALEM, Mass. --  JR Barone (West Chester, Pa.) scored twice in the third period as Plymouth State held off Salem State 5-4 in Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) hockey action from Rockett Arena on Saturday. The Panthers improve to 14-6-3 and 11-3-2 in conference while the Vikings slide to 7-15-1 and 6-10 in the MASCAC.

Plymouth State scored first as Simon Besner (North Lancaster, Ontario) slipped a pass through to Michael Covach (Shilington, Pa.), who beat goalie Sean Cleary (Barnstable, Mass.), with a backhanded shot just 3:42 into the first.

The Vikings responded with back-to-back goals to take a 2-1 lead. Connor Irving (Beverly, Mass.) scored the equalizer for Salem State at the 8:01 mark while Ryan Tierney (Methuen, Mass.) tipped home a Callum Hofford (Woodbridge, Ontario) shot from the point at 13:36 of the first.

Joe Smith (Holbrook, Mass.) extended the lead to 3-1 with a shot from the left faceoff circle as the Vikings converted on the power play at 2:02 of the second.

The Panthers, however notched back-to-back goals as Jake Gerbner (Havertown, Pa.) and Alec LeFave (Hudson, N.H.) scored just over a minute apart to tie the game at 3-3. Gerbner corralled a loose puck in front of the net and beat Cleary on the power play before LeFave rifled a puck just inside the blue line at 10:32 of the second.

JR Barone (West Chester, Pa.) put Plymouth State back on top at 5:40 of the third before Trevor Mallett (York, Maine) tied the game again for Salem State with less than six minutes gone by in the period.

Barone regained the lead for the Panthers at the 6:18 mark when he ripped a shot by Cleary for his second goal of the period.

Cleary made several outstanding saves late on a Plymouth State power play to keep the deficit at one-goal, but the Vikings could not find breakthrough for a game-tying goa at the end.

Evan Morelli (Reading, Mass.) made 12 saves in the win while Cleary stopped 30 shots for Salem State.