MILTON, Mass. – Top-seeded Curry College scored three goals in the first two minutes of the game and never looked back Wednesday night, skating to an 8-2 victory over fourth-seeded Plymouth State University in the semifinals of the ECAC Northeast Conference Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament at Max Ulin Rink.
The Colonels, 18-5-3 overall, advance to their second straight Northeast championship game, and will host second-seeded UMass Dartmouth Saturday at 4:35 p.m. UMD nipped third-seeded Wentworth Wednesday, 3-2. Plymouth State completes the season with a 13-10-2 overall record under head coach Brett Tryder, the best mark since the 1993-94 Panthers finished 17-8-0.
Senior Gus Labelle (Grafton, Mass.) opened the scoring for Curry just 39 seconds into the game. Senior Chet Ferreira (Wilmington, Mass.) and sophomore Kevin Brooks (Stow, Mass.) added power play goals at 1:12 and 1:50 to make it a 3-0 game. Sophomore Bret Adams (Carol Stream, Ill.) and senior Manu Mau’u ((Redondo Beach, Cal.) tacked on two more first-period scores to give the Colonels a 5-0 advantage.
Junior Rory Nickerson (West Chatham, Mass.) put the Panthers on the board six minutes into the second period, with an assist from classmate Paul Feeney (Lowell, Mass.). Nickerson set up senior Michal Bodnar (Olomouc, Czech Rep.) for a power play goal with seven seconds left in the second period, but Curry added two power play goals in between to maintain the five-goal lead.
Curry finished the evening with five power play goals. Senior Michael O’Sullivan (Dorchester, Mass.) rounded out the scoring for the hosts with an unassisted goal in the third period.
PSU freshman goaltender Karl Helgesson (Lerum, Sweden) made 30 saves in the setback. He concludes a terrific rookie campaign with a 2.89 goals against average and a .904 saves percentage, ranking fourth in both categories among the 24 goalies in the Northeast. Freshman Mike Ronan (Braintree, Mass.) made 24 saves to earn the win for Curry.
Junior Dennis Kane (Westford, Mass.) finishes the season as PSU’s scoring leader with 30 points (11 goals, 19 assists). The top five Panther scorers also included freshman Deni Bojadzic (Gothenburg, Sweden) with 27 points (11 goals, 16 assists), Nickerson with 25 points (8 goals, 17 assists), freshman Chris Cadieux (Nashua, N.H.) with 24 points (team-high 12 goals, 12 assists), and Feeney with 24 points (6 goals, 18 assists).
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