Image by Jacob Downey

Panther’s hockey season comes to an end in 4-1 loss

John LaPierre


Staff Writer


Last weekend, Plymouth State Men’s Hockey conquered the Cortland Dragons 5-2 in Hanaway Rink in the first round of the NCAA Division III playoffs.

This week, the Panther’s had an even bigger task standing in their way. Ranked #2 in the tournament, Utica Pioneers finished the regular season 24-2-3 while maintaining a near-perfect conference record of 19-0-1 in the United Collegiate Hockey Conference (UCHC). 

The first period kicked off with the Panthers winning the opening faceoff. This period started with great back-and-forth action. The Panthers and Pioneers matched each other in strength on offensive presence and defensive backchecking, feeling out the opposition. Both teams committed a couple of turnovers, as well as plenty of shots for the goal. Pioneers almost got on the board first, but luckily the puck bounced off the post. The goalies from both teams looked stellar making those early saves. Second time was the charm as the Pioneers finally strike first coming from #24 Jakob Breault at 4:52 off a two-on-one breakaway goal.

Early on in the second period, both teams had plenty of offensive opportunities from shots on goals from the offensive zone. Tempers flared just a bit around 15:30 when goalie Kalle Andersson had made an initial save, when a Pioneer player started poking at Andersson. Jeromey Rancourt stuck up for his goalie as anyone would. Pioneers notch another goal from #11 Chris Carroll at 13:25 as he received a pass from his teammate John Gutt who was wide open in the slot. The Panthers got an opportunity to go on the powerplay at 12:46, however they were unable to capitalize after unloading lots of shots on Utica Goalie Bryan Landsberger. Colin Tracy gets the Panthers on the board at 8:41 off a rebound from a previous shot. The Pioneers tallied another goal from #27 Andrew Della Rovere at 6:09 to put them back up two goals. 

The Pioneers started off the third period by winning the faceoff. Star offensive player Will Reddick had a golden opportunity to score but was robbed of the puck point-blank. The Pioneers add to their lead, and Carroll gets his second goal at 13:21. The Panthers had to maintain composure and find a way to crawl back into this game somehow. The Pioneers spent a majority of the period in the offensive zone which was not good for the Panthers in their attempts at a late rally. In the last couple of minutes, the Panthers decided not to pull Andersson from the net. And just like that, the Panther’s terrific season comes to an end 4-1 against a talented Utica team.

The Panthers finished the season with a record of 24-2-2 and a conference record of 18-1-2 in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference.