WESTFIELD, Mass. – Westfield State senior captain Francois-Xavier Girard scored twice and added an assist in an 8-2 rout of Salem State in Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) action Thursday night at Amelia Park Ice Arena.
The Owls held a 5-0 lead early in the third period until two quick Viking goals put Salem back in it. Nearly on the brink of shrinking the lead to just two goals, the Vikings were denied by senior goaltender Thierry Messervier (Montreal, Quebec) who made two remarkable saves back-to-back at the 7-minute marker to preserve the lead and give the home team a chance to tack on three late goals to seal the victory.
Westfield State picks up their first victory of the 2019-20 campaign (1-2-1) and moves to 1-1 in the MASCAC, fueled by the efforts of Girard and Messervier. Salem (1-2) drops to 0-1 in the conference.
Triston Theriot (Fort Wayne, Ind.) netted his second of the season to get the Owls on the board first. After a nice passing display in the neutral zone, Theriot picked up a drop pass from John-Michael DiGregorio (Montreal, Quebec), walked right into the slot and fired into the twine for the 1-0 Owl lead.
The Owls used that momentum to extend their lead late in the period after a beautiful backhand pass from Daniel Backstrom (Helsinki, Finland) found sophomore forward Jake Ratcliffe (Canterbury, New Zealand) wide open in the slot. Ratcliffe wasted no time as he fired a shot that beat the goaltender high glove side to put the home team up by two.
Backstrom and Ratcliffe would both go on to finish the night with three points apiece.
Despite a 19-16 shot advantage and a power-play in the second, the Vikings were unable to get anything by Messervier, who made several key saves and left Salem scoreless after two.
The Owls, however, capitalized off two goals, both trickling pucks in front of the net, from Justin Alves (Woburn, Mass.) and Justin Collins (Wilmington, Mass.) to give Westfield State the 4-0 cushion heading into the third.
The Owls kept things rolling early in the third when F.X. Girard ripped a shot past Sean Cleary (Barnstable, Mass.) to make it 5-0 Westfield State and put an end to Cleary's evening. Sophomore Joona Sato-Hunsala (Turku, Finland) came on to relieve Cleary, making 7 saves the rest of the night.
Salem did not let the large deficit discourage them, as goals from Joe Smith (Holbrook, Mass.) and Billy McGwin (Rochester, N.Y.) only 37 seconds apart put the Vikings within reach for the first time.
But the lead would prove too much, as Girard slammed home his second of the game with 5:31 remaining to stop the Salem State momentum. Josh Boulos (Burlington, Mass.) and DiGregorio added two late goals to finish the scoring for the Owls and solidify the victory.
Salem held the overall advantage in shots at 47-41 and Messervier picked up his first win of the year, stopping 45 shots. Cleary was handed the loss, making 26 saves on the night.
Up next, Salem State will host MASCAC rival Fitchburg State on Saturday afternoon at 2:00 p.m.
The Owls will be back in action at Amelia Park on Saturday, as they prepare to host MASCAC opponent Plymouth State. Puck drop is scheduled of 5:35 p.m.