WESTFIELD, Mass. – Westfield State junior assistant captain Francois-Xavier Girard (St. Lazare, Quebec) had two goals, including the game winner, in a feisty Senior Night as the Owls defeated UMass Dartmouth 4-3 Saturday night at Amelia Park Ice Arena.
Before the game, the Owls honored six seniors that have made significant contributions to the hockey program over their time at Westfield State. Those recognized were Aaron Clancy, Samuel Gagnon, Wyatt Trumbley, Lenny Caglianone, Johnny Orlando, and Marcus Payne.
The senior day festivities were just the beginning of a tough and gritty matchup between the two opposing teams. Both squads combined for 19 penalties, 73 penalty minutes, and five power-play goals in the affair.
Freshman Josh Boulos (Burlington, Mass.) put the Owls up early in the first, snapping home a wrister from the point only two minutes into the contest to give Westfield State the 1-0 lead.
It was a penalty-filled first period in which nine penalties were called, but the Corsairs emerged up 2-1 after two power-play goals from sophomore Dillon Radin (Long Beach, N.Y.) and senior captain Jonathan Ruiz (Williamstown, N.J.).
The Corsairs held the lead until Francois-Xavier Girard fired home a shot directly off the face-off and two seconds into an Owls man-advantage for the power-play tally to tie the game 2-2.
Senior assistant captain Aaron Clancy (Quincy, Mass.) would later give the Owls the 3-2 lead with just under a minute remaining in the period after he jammed home a rebound off a Boulos shot from the point.
UMass Dartmouth would come back, however, scoring their third power-play goal of the game. This time it was off the stick of Brendan McDonough (Wilmington, Mass.), who took a seemingly harmless route to the net around the left side of the offensive zone and snuck a wrist shot short-side on Thierry Messervier (Montreal, Quebec) to tie the game at 3-3.
Westfield State would have the final punch, as Girard ripped a shot from the point and past goaltender Parker Butler (Summit, N.J.) to put the Owls up 4-3.
UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Erik Noack pulled Butler with just under three minutes to play, turning a 5-on-4 advantage into a 6-on-4 situation for the Corsairs. But all of their efforts were stopped by Messervier and the Owls' defense, securing the victory for Westfield State.
Messervier tallied 51 saves in the winning effort, while Butler gathered 19 and took the loss.
With the win, the Owls improve to 13-6-3 overall and climb into second in the conference with a 10-4-1 record in the MASCAC. The loss drops the Corsairs to 12-10-1 overall and 9-6-1 in the MASCAC.
Up next for the Owls, a conference matchup with Worcester State on Thursday at Amelia Park Ice Arena, puck drop scheduled for 7:35 p.m.
For the Corsairs, they host Framingham at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday.