Hockey's Comeback Falls Short in CCC Quarterfinals

Hockey's Comeback Falls Short in CCC Quarterfinals

BIDDEFORD, Maine – The third-seeded University of New England men's ice hockey team jumped out to a 4-0 lead then fended off a late comeback attempt by sixth-seeded Wentworth Institute of Technology as the Nor'easters defeated the Leopards, 6-3, in a Commonwealth Coast Conference quarterfinal played at the Alfond Forum.

With the win, UNE, ranked seventh in both the Division III Men's Poll and the poll, improves to 19-4-3 on the season while Wentworth sees its season end with a 9-14-3 record. The Nor'easters will head to second-seeded and No. 11/11 Endicott for a CCC semifinal on Saturday, February 24.

Three of the Nor'Easters' first four goals came on the power play. At the 13:45 mark of the opening period, freshmen Max Rasberg (Columbus, Ohio) and Brett Mecrones (Medford, Mass.) set up sophomore Ryan Burr (Toms River, N.J.) for the game's opening tally. At 18:02 of the period, junior Brady Fleurent (Biddeford, Maine) scored from junior Andre Slotnick (Canterbury, Conn.). With 25 seconds left in the period and just eight seconds into a man advantage, Rasberg and Burr set up junior Tucker Ross (Ashburn, Va.).

Rasberg made it 4-0 on his goal from freshman Jeff Eppright (Barrington, N.J.) nearly midway into the second period before Wentworth got on the board at 18:06 of the middle stanza when sophomore Georgy Gorodetskii (Yekaterinburg, Russia) scored on the power play, from sophomore CJ Grinnell (Burlington, Mass.) and junior Ethan Weiss (Troy, Mich.). A minute and 25 seconds later, UNE made it 5-1 when sophomore Ryan Bloom (Northville, Mich.) scored on the man advantage from Eppright and sophomore Dimitrius Jones (Seattle, Wash.).

Senior Jake McDonough (Marshfield, Mass.) scored at the 6:22 mark of the third period and just five seconds after Wentworth went on a power play to make it a 5-2 game. The Leopards pulled senior Ryan Hubbard (West Roxbury, Mass.) at the 10:51 mark of the third period for an extra attacker and the move paid off as the visitors came within two goals when junior Paul Filippone, III (Cranston, R.I.) scored from sophomore Adam Tracey (Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.) and sophomore Connor Busch (Lake in the Hills, Ill.).

Wentworth continued to pressure, however, sophomore Tate Sproxton (Surrey, B.C.) kept it a two-goal game. Down two men to penalties, Hubbard was again pulled for an extra attacker but UNE sealed the win with an empty-net goal from Eppright, which was assisted by Rasberg.

Sproxton made 35 saves while Hubbard turned aside 27 shots. Wentworth had a 38-33 shot advantage. UNE finished 4-for-6 on the power play while the Leopards were 2-for-6.

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