The Plymouth State Panthers earned the top seed in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference Men's Ice Hockey Tournament which begins on Saturday, February 25 with the quarterfinal contests.
Starting off the tournament is #4 Fitchburg State hosting #5 Worcester State on Saturday at 4 pm while #3 UMass Dartmouth entertains #6 Westfield State at 6:50 pm in the second quarterfinal. The winner of Fitchburg State/Worcester State will play top seed Plymouth State Tuesday, February 28 at 7 pm. In the other semifinal second seed Salem State will host winner of UMass Dartmouth/Westfield State also at 7.
The two semifinal winners will then face off on Saturday, March 4 for the MASCAC Tournament Championship at the highest remaining seed with the winner advancing to the NCAA Tournament.
Earning the top seed and a first round bye, the Panthers finished the MASCAC regular season schedule with a 16-1-1 record. Ryan Stevens led the way for Plymouth State with 18 goals and 17 assists for 35 points, the third most in the league. He also finished tied for first with three game-winning goals. Goalie Evan Morelli led the conference in goals against average (2.14), save percentage (.922) and winning percentage (.808) to close out the regular season.
Securing the second seed and the other first round bye is Salem State who finished the season with a 12-4-2 mark in conference action. Callum Hofford was the leader in points for the Vikings with 20 on nine goals and 11 assists while teammate Brandon Platt was close behind with 19 points on 11 goals and eight assists.
Sitting in the third spot is UMass Dartmouth. The Corsairs were 12-6 during MASCAC action this season. Leading the league in points is Casey Shea who netted 12 goals and 28 assists this season. His assists were the most this season in the MASCAC while he also tallied the highest number of power play points with 18 on four goals and 14 assists.
Fitchburg State lands in fourth after amassing a 7-10-1 record in league play. Freshman Tyler Warila in his first season with the Falcons led the squad with 26 points on eight goals and 18 assists. His assist total was the fourth-best in the MASCAC at the end of the regular season.
Rounding out the tournament field with the fifth and sixth seed are Worcester State and Westfield State. The Lancers ended the season with a 6-10-2 mark in MASCAC action while the Owls were 6-12. In his first year with the team. Josh Reinstein was solid between the pipes for Worcester State with a goals against average of 2.44 and .919 save percentage, both which were top four in the league. For Westfield State, Jackson Leef concluded the regular season second in the MASCAC with 38 points on 19 goals and 19 assists. He was also second in power play points with 15 on six goals and nine assists.
At the 2016 MASCAC Men's Ice Hockey Tournament Championship, top seed Salem State outlasted second seed Plymouth State 4-0 to grab a spot in the NCAA Tournament.