FITCHBURG, Mass. -- Westfield State University failed to clinch the number two seed in the MASCAC tournament in the Owls 5-3 loss to Fitchburg State University Saturday afternoon at Wallace Civic Center.
With the loss, the Owls move drop to 3rd in the MASCAC standings, due to a UMass Dartmouth tie against Worcester earlier this evening. Westfield State will have to defeat the 2019 conference champion Plymouth State Panthers on Tuesday night if they want sole posession of second place and a first round bye in the playoffs that are just around the corner.
The Owls jumped out to an early 2-0 advantage with goals from junior Daniel Backstrom (Helsinki, Finland) and senior Samuel Gagnon (Ille-Bizard, Que.). The Falcons cut the lead in half when freshman Ryan Murphy buried a backhand past Westfield's goaltender Thierry Messervier (Montreal, Que.) and senior Nick DiNicola (Wolcott, Conn.) evened the score after one period, with his eleventh goal of the season.
Each team potted a goal in the second frame. Freshman Paul Frys (Portland, Ore.) pushed the Owls ahead 3-2 with a short-handed tally at 14:41. However, exactly one-minute later sophomore Brian Glover (Baldwinville, Mass.) notched his first collegiate goal on the power-play to even the game at 3-3.
Knotted at 3-3 heading into the third frame, Fitchburg tacked on two goals for the victory. Murphy sent a lead pass to a streaking DiNicola for the seniors 2nd goal of the game and Ecklund potted his third of the season with DiNicola and Joscelyn picking up the helpers.
Westfield State outshot the Falcons 47-35 despite coming up short in their efforts. Messervier finished with 30 saves for the Owls, while Brian McGrath notched 44 for Fitchburg.
As noted before, the Owls host Plymouth State in the biggest game of the year starting at 7:35 p.m. at Amelia Park Ice Arena.
Fitchburg travels to Worcester for their final game with the Lancers, puck drop scheduled for 6:00 p.m.