WESTFIELD, Mass. – Salem State notched another upset as the sixth seeded Vikings knocked off second seeded Westfield State 5-2 in the MASCAC Men's Ice Hockey Semifinals held at Amelia Park on Tuesday night. Salem State continues its attempt to become the first team to win the MASCAC Championship from the lowest playoff seed. The Vikings will now face #1 Plymouth State on Saturday with an NCAA Tournament bid on the line. The Vikings, who haven't won back-to-back games this season until the playoffs, have now won three in a row.
Trevor Mallet (York, Maine) scored two goals to hlep Salem State build a 3-0 lead. The Owls stormed back with two quick goals only 26 seconds apart to knock the Vikings lead down to one. However, the Owls were stymied by junior goaltender Sean Cleary (Barnstable, Mass.), who made 32 saves on the night, the rest of the way.
After a scoreless first period, it appeared as though Westfield State would jump on the board early in the second on a rebound goal from Gerard Colpoys (Scituate, Mass.), but the goal was disallowed due to a goaltender interference call keeping the game knotted at 0-0.
A few moments later, senior Jimmy Currier (Middleton, Mass.) would send a pass across the slot to a wide open Brandon Wolfe (Granger, Ind.) who would fire it past a diving Thierry Messervier (Montreal, Quebec) to give the Vikings a 1-0 lead.
Only 1:24 later, Captain Alexsi Mustaniemi (Vihti, Finland) sent a rocket from the point that handcuffed Messervier, leading to a trickling puck in front of a wide open net that Mallet would slam home for a 2-0 advantage.
Salem State would pick up another 2-on-1 goal from Mallet to extend the Viking lead to 3-0, but the Owls would fire back with a couple goals of their own. Josh Boulos (Burlington, Mass.) would send a shot that found its way through traffic and into the back of the net and then Justin Collins (Wilmington, Mass.) would pot moments later to bring Westfield back in the game at 3-2.
Salem State would eventually have the final say, tacking on two empty net goals both from sophomore Joe Smith (Holbrook, Mass.) to put the Owls away for good.
Westfield State finishes the year with a 14-9-3 record, having tied the program record for wins since the hockey team was reinstated in 2008 and earning the number two seed in the tournament for the first time ever.
As for Salem, they will move on to play in their fifth MASCAC championship game in the last six years, seeking their fifth title since the league was reinstated.