EVERETT, Mass. – Junior Nicholas Mangone (Massapequa Park, N.Y.) tallied a pair of goals to help pace the Nichols College ice hockey team to a 5-2 victory over Wentworth Institute of Technology in Commonwealth Coast Conference action Saturday afternoon.
With the win the Bison improve to 11-11-3 overall and 9-6-2 in CCC play, which is good for the number four seed in the conference tournament which commences on Wednesday. The Leopards were locked into the number six seed in the tournament entering the game and finish the regular season with an 8-13-4 overall record and a 6-10-1 mark in league play. Nichols will host fifth-seeded Endicott on Wednesday (7:10 p.m.) while Wentworth will travel to third-seeded University of New England on, also on Wednesday (7:00 p.m.)
Just 2:09 into the contest, Nichols scored the first of its two, first-period goals as senior Ben Campbell (Duluth, Minn.) was set up by classmate T.J. Roche (Northport, N.Y.). Mangone gave the Bison, who had a 13-4 shot advantage in the opening frame, a 2-0 lead when h scored from sophomore Nate Foster (West Chazy, N.Y.) and junior David Chevrier (Bale-d'Urfe, Que.) at the 11:20 mark.
Wentworth got on the board at the 2:43 mark of the second period, closing the gap to 2-1 when senior Paul Filippone, III (found an opening and scored from senior Ethan Weiss (Troy, Mich.) and freshman Tyler Lapshanski (Belvedere, N.J.). Nichols scored a pair of special teams goals 5:40 apart to take a 4-1 lead. At 13:04, junior Vincent Crivello (Rosemere, Que.) scored from junior J.B. Baker (Columbia, Md.) and senior Matthew Menta (Lima, Pa.), while, with 1:16 remaining in the frame, senior Daniele Iasenza (Pierrefonds, Que.) set up Foster.
Wentworth made it a 4-2 game at the 3:27 mark of the third period when junior Adam Tracey (Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.) scored on a penalty shot. The Leopards kept pressure on Nichols, in hopes of closing the gap and pulled freshman goalie Thomas Draper (Binghamton, N.Y.) for an extra attacker with 1:14 remaining. With the puck in the Nichols' zone, Iasenza capitalized on a turnover and chipped the puck to Mangone who sealed the win with an empty-net goal.
Freshman Brett Epp (Edmonton, Alta.) picked up the win for the Bison, making 20 saves. Freshman Ryan Bonnvie (Falmouth, Maine) made 19 saves over the first 38:44 to suffer the loss. Draper did not allow a goal in the 20:43 he played, making eight saves in the process. Nichols had a 32-22 shot advantage.
Wednesday's meeting will be the ninth all-time between the two programs with UNE holding a 5-1-1 advantage. The two teams split their pair of meeting back on the weekend of January 25-26 with each team winning on its home ice. The also marks the second straight season the two will play in the opening round of the conference tournament as last year's 6-3 Nor'Easter win was the only playoff meeting in the series.
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