WORCESTER, Mass. – Westfield State University's Jackson Leef (Fort Wayne, Ind.) picked up a hat-trick Saturday evening as the Owls downed the Worcester State Lancers 4-1 in a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) matchup at the Hart Recreation Center.
After a scoreless first period, Leef picked up his first goal 9:26 into the second on a power play. Teammate Carl Greco (Niagra Falls, Ont.) fed the puck to Leef who put it in the slot for the 1-0 go ahead. Worcester State knotted the goal at 1-1 just four minutes later, also on a power play, when Ryan Flynn (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) setup Kyle Griffin (Marlboro, Mass.) for his 8th goal of the season. The visitors would once again take the lead with just 55 seconds remaining in the frame, when Leef and Lenny Caglianone (Matawan, N.J.) touched the puck up the ice to Francis-Xavier Girard (St. Lazare, Que.) who then skated through the traffic to score the goal.
Ahead 2-1 going into the third period, the Owls outshot the Lancers 16-8 in the frame and did not let down. Late into the stanza, Leef upped the score to 3-1 in the 17th minute on a mishandle from Worcester State's rookie keeper, Josh Reinstein (Woodland Hills, Calif.). Leef sealed the 4-1 win just two minutes later when he scored another goal on an empty net, assisted by Marcus Payne (Fogo Island, Newfoundland) and Jordan Mardirossian (Monroeville, Pa.).
Throughout the contest, Westfield State held the advantage in shots (32-26) and also in faceoffs (31-24).
Westfield State's Jonathan LoParco (Vaughan, Ont.) earned the victory as he stopped 25 shots on net. Worcester State's Reinstien suffered the loss, registering 28 saves in the 59:10 minutes played.
Worcester State resumes play on Monday (Feb. 13) when they travel to Fitchburg State to makeup a game that was rescheduled from this past Thursday, while Westfield State hosts UMass Dartmouth on Tuesday (Feb. 14).