WORCESTER, Mass. – Salem State University was led by Mackenzie Cook (Reading, Mass.) and Michael Casale (Stoney Creek, Ont.) in the Vikings' 5-2 victory over Worcester State University in Tuesday evening's Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) regular season finale.
Cook tallied two goals, while Casale picked up a goal and two assists in the win.
With the win, Salem State concludes the regular season at 13-8-3 and 12-4-2 in the MASCAC, while the Lancers finish at 9-13-3 and 6-10-2 in the MASCAC.
The Vikings started the scoring just five minutes into the game on a goal from Derek Makimma (Swartz Creek, Mich.), assisted by Casale and Callum Hofford (Woodbridge, Ont.). Not even a minute later, Salem State added another to the board as Brad Jones (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) shot from the top of the right circle off an odd-man rush. Casale picked up his second assist of the night on the second goal, and then scored the third goal three minutes later from the top of the circle. Despite a 3-0 advantage for the Vikings in the first period, Worcester State outshot the Vikings 10-9 in the frame.
Salem State's Cook scored his first goal of the game in the 9th minute of the second period when his shot trickled off Worcester State's goalie, Josh Reinstein (Woodland Hills, Calif.). Worcester State spoiled the shutout late in the second period when Colin Whitt (South Lake, Texas) made an unassisted point shot.
Worcester State added one more goal halfway through the third period when Marcus Mazur (Beverly Hills, Mich.) shot from the slot, however, Salem State's Cook tallied his second goal of the game in the 16th minute to close out the score at 5-2.
Salem State's Jason Pucciarelli (Newmarket, Ont.) earned his 11th win of the season on a 29-save performance, while Worcester's Cory Lignelli (Glastonbury, Conn.) suffered the loss with three saves in 8:56 played. Reinstein relieved Lignelli in the first period to total 17 saves in 51:04 played.
Despite the win for Salem State, Worcester State outshot the visitors by a 31-25 margin. Neither team was able to convert a power play, as Salem had three opportunities and Worcester had six.
Prior to this evening's contest, Worcester State honored four seniors: #2 Alex Taddeo (Franklin, Mass.), #4 Jim LeNoir (Exton, Pa.), #9 Alex DeWitz (Oronoco, Minn.), and #17 Crissostomos Villarreal (Corona, Calif.)
Next up, both teams will advance to the MASCAC tournament. Salem State earned the No. 2 seed and will get a bye in the first round of the tournament and play the winner of the UMass Dartmouth/Westfield game next Tuesday (Feb. 28). Worcester State will take the No. 5 seed in the tournament and will look to face the No. 4 seed Fitchburg State on the road Saturday (Feb. 25) afternoon.