Owls hockey eliminated

Nic Vidoni (10) scores to tie the game at 3-3. (Photo by Nick Villante)

WESTFIELD – Sophomore defender Craig Halpin scored a deflected goal with 1:49 remaining to lift Fitchburg State University to a 4-3 victory over Westfield State University in a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) men’s ice hockey tournament quarterfinal game on Saturday, Feb. 23, at Amelia Park Arena.
The No. 5 seed Falcons (11-13-2) advance to the MASCAC semi-finals and will play at No. 1 seed Plymouth State
University on Tuesday, Feb. 26, at 6:00 p.m.3
Westfield finishes its season with a 14-9-3 record, compiling the most victories in a season since reviving the varsity program in 2008-2009.
The Owls rallied from a 3-1 deficit after two periods to tie the score at 3-all on TJ Powers’ power play goal early in the third period, and Nic Vidoni’s goal off a rebound midway thru the final stanza.

TJ Powers scores on a third-period power play. (Photo by Mickey Curtis)

Westfield appeared to have the momentum when Fitchburg was called for a tripping penalty with 4:29 remaining. The Owls had several major scoring opportunities during the power play but the Falcons were able to keep the score tied led by outstanding net play from goalie Randy Wolcott, who racked up 48 saves in the intense tournament game.
Halpin then scored the game-winning goal with under two minutes remaining. His shot front the point was sailing just wide of the left post but the puck hit an Owl defender and was redirected into the net.
Fitchburg led 2-1 after the opening period, scoring on power play goals by John Celli and Derek Giansanti. Powers scored his first of two goals less than a minute following the Falcons’ first tally after receiving a textbook passes from P.J. McCadden and Steve Evans.
Despite being outshot, 19-8, in the second period, Kevin Holmes scored the only goal of the stanza to give Fitchburg a 3-1 lead.
Westfield doubled up Fitchburg in shot attempts, 51-25.

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