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Owls Blank Salem, 2-0

Pearce Vance unloads a shot against Becker earlier this season
Pearce Vance unloads a shot against Becker earlier this season

SALEM, Mass. - The Westfield State University men's ice hockey team put together a full team effort, capped off by a 19-save shutout performance from Thierry Messervier (Montreal, Quebec), as the Owls defeated Salem State 2-0 in conference play on Thursday night at Rockett Arena. 

The Owls progress to 11-6-3 on the season and 8-3-2 in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC), while the Vikings drop to 6-13-1 on the year and 5-8 in conference. With the victory, Westfield State has now won eight of its last ten games, posting an 8-1-1 record in the process.

Westfield got things going in the first period when Rob Neuwirth's (Zlin, Czech Republic) shot was saved by Sean Cleary(Barnstable, Mass.), but Paul Frys (Portland, Oreg.) recovered the puck and tipped it home to put the Owls up 1-0 with 8:35 remaining.

Both teams went scoreless in the second period, as both teams missed prime scoring chances. Francois-Xavier Girard (St. Lazare, Quebec) was called for interference giving the Vikings the first of just two power play opportunities. However, Salem State could not take advantage. Later, the Owls had a three on one opportunity, but a shot by Pearce Vance (Berkley, Mich.) was denied by Cleary.

In the third period, Dylan Gatto (Jacksonville, Fla.) was skating forward on the right side and made a quick pass in the middle to Pearce Vance who found a hole and scored, extending the Owls lead to 2-0 with 12:33 left in the game.

In the closing minute of the game, the Vikings pulled their goalie after Gatto picked up a penalty for high sticking. Salem State had a six on four advantage the rest of the way, but couldn't find the back of the net with back-to-back saves by Messervier to lock up the 2-0 victory.

The Owls move on to host Framingham State at Amelia Park a week from today at 7:35 p.m. with the hopes of staying in the hunt for the top spot in the MASCAC.