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Shipping Out to Salem

Wigg’s Shorthand Goal Sparks Offense, Leads Them to MASCAC Championship

By Justin Siewierski; Editor-in-Chief
On March 8, 2016

Shipping Out to Salem

Wigg’s Shorthand Goal Sparks Offense, Leads Them to MASCAC Championship

Justin Siewierski
Editor-in-Chief
js2010@plymouth.edu

The second-seeded Plymouth State Panthers overcame one of the scrappiest games of the year at Hanaway Rink, taking down Fitchburg State and earning their 5th straight title appearance Tuesday night. Panther senior and former MASCAC player of the year Andrew Wigg (Lantz, N.S.) sparked the offense with the biggest goal of the game, a shorthanded feed from Tim Perron (Northborough, Mass) and added a pair of assists in his final game at home.

The game was all about momentum, which didn’t claim a team until nearly the end of the second period. The fifth-seeded Fitchburg State Falcons came out strong to start the first, firing a fury of shots on Plymouth keeper Gordon Ceasar (Oak Park,CA), but couldn’t find the back of the net early on. “Our goal wasn’t to just throw shots on net,” said Fitchburg coach Dean Fuller. “That isn’t what we’re about. I’d rather see our guys make the extra pass and create a real scoring chance, rather than pepper their goalie.” With some fantastic opportunities, the team couldn’t put one home, and neither could the home team.

About midway through the first, a huge collision on the Plymouth end of the ice put senior Josh Woody in box, but the Falcons were unable to convert. At the 12:13 mark, Plymouth junior Dan Dupell (Collegeville, PA) stole the puck at center ice and headed in two-on-one before ditching it to Baxter Strachan (Sioux City, Iowa). The first real test of the night for freshman keeper Charles Jakobssen proved to be successful, as Strachan’s missed shot was the closest Plymouth would come to scoring in the first. Toward the end of the period, Ceasar made a couple more fantastic saves before another controversial penalty was called on Tord Thoresen (Oppegard, Norway), which set up Fitchburg with another penalty play opportunity. With time expiring in the first, Thoresen’s penalty still had a minute to be carried over into the second, with the score still at 0-0.

The Falcons came out hot, silenced the crowd, and Ryan Connelly was the man that buried a shot from the left side of the net despite a diving effort from Ceasar. With momentum slowly creeping toward the visitor’s bench, Plymouth struggled to maintain possession through the first ten minutes of period #2. With a penalty called on defensemen Colt Smelstor (Fairfax, VT) it looked as though Fitchburg was going to add to the lead. Cue Tim Perrron and Andrew Wigg. Perron read a lazy pass back to the blue line and picked it off, and with a crisp pass and a smart shot, Wigg was able to capitalize and put Plymouth on the scoreboard, 1-1.

“The shorthand goal was a huge momentum swing for us” said Plymouth head coach Craig Russell. “Everyone on the bench could breathe a little bit again.”

Plymouth would then take the lead just three minutes later, when Tommy Dowell (Olathe, Kansas) threw a puck in from the blue line that Jakobssen never even saw. “That hasn’t happened to us all year” said coach Russell. “[Tommy] takes a lot of pride in the way he puts the puck in the net.” Dowell’s first goal of the season couldn’t have come at a better time.

Following the goal by Dowell, the Fitchburg defense had a mental lapse, and allowed Plymouth to keep the puck down in their zone for almost two minutes. Anyone who can’t get the puck out of their end for that long is going to pay the price, and Dan Dupell was the guy for the job. A loose puck on the right side of the crease was fired into the back of the net for Dupell’s 12th goal of the season to make it 3-1.

With just over a minute left in the period, Fitchburg almost stole the electricity from the crowd, but a fantastic save that tipped off the glove of Ceasar popped over the net to avoid a Falcon goal. Just five seconds after, an Ian McGilvrey (Omaha, NE) holding call was whistled, and Plymouth found themselves a man short for the last minute once again. Jakobssen wasn’t going to allow his second shorthand goal, despite a breakaway shot from Ryan Callahan (Londonderry, NH) that was snagged with a flash save.

With a minute still remaining on the power play, Fitchburg needed the offense to come alive at the start of the 3rd, but couldn’t get anything out of it. The power play was killed off, and McGilvrey came out of the box in transition to set up a two-on-one, but a Jakobssen blocker save kept the Falcons alive.

Plymouth would pick up their fourth goal of the game one a pretty three-on-two sequence. Quinn Carroll (Amherst, NH) would find junior Zach Fox (Sandown, NH) in the right side corner, who slid it to a streaking Callahan, where he would fake the forehand shot and tuck it in nearside past Jakobssen. A Tommy Dowell kick save kept the Falcons out of the net temporarily, but after a huge hit that was called for crosschecking, Plymouth found themselves down a man once again. This time, Ricky Kramer was the goal scorer; a shot from the left side that found the post and snuck in cut it back to two a two-goal lead.

After Josh Woody collided with the goalie, he finally found the back of the net on a power play, a slap shot high and to the right, over the frame of the 5’10” shoulders. Jakobssen was pulled, and with 5:12 remaining Colby Lanceleve (Stewiacke, N.S.) found McGilvrey for another two-on-one score. This goal would mark the final tally of the game, as the Panthers shut out FSU in the final five minutes.

Plymouth finished with 34 shots on goal, with each of the six goals coming from different players. Colby Lanceleve led the team in assists with three. Gordon Ceasar tallied up 23 saves in yet another outstanding night.

Plymouth State travels to Salem State University to take on the Vikings in their fifth straight title match. This championship matchup featured these two teams last year at Hanaway Rink, with Plymouth being the top seed.

CLOCK PHOTOS/ALEX CROSSLEY

 

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