For the first eight minutes of the third period the Panthers didn’t get a single shot on net.
“Our defense was outstanding, and as coach I am very pleased with that,” said O’Neill. “We’ve had it throughout the season and are committed to it. It takes a lot of hard work.
“Our captains, Kyle Phelan and (junior) Ian Canty, along with the other seniors (Mark Macdonald, Eric Defelice, T. J. Hermans and Sutliffe) moved the team in the offseason and their leadership has been impressive. As the year went on, we got better and never lost our focus. I am really proud of these guys and what they accomplished.”
Mastropietro scored the last two goals. The first came at 12:42 of the final frame in a jam in front of Ceasar when a slapshot by Cromp went in off his helmet. His finally tally came on the power play, with Sutliffe assisting for the first time in his college career.
“I just wanted to get the puck up there out of the zone -- and Mastro was there,” said Sutliffe. “It feels unbelievable to get over the hump; we’ve been so close in other years. I thought if we could get out of that first period, we’d be able to get going.”
Salem State 5, Plymouth State 1
MASCAC Championship Game
at Rockett Arena, Salem
Plymouth State: 1 0 0 — 1
Salem State: 0 3 2 — 5
First period: PSU - Andrew Smith (Tieg Alward, Mike Economos), 8:21
Second Period: SSU - Chris Mastropietro (Cam Moniz, Alex Minter), 3:50; SSU -- Gabriel Cromp (Mark Macdonald), ppg, 4:50; SSU -- Alex Minter (Mastropietro, Keaton Cashin), 14:21
Third Period: SSU -- Mastropietro (Cromp, John Needham), 12:42; SSU -- Mastropietro (Ryan Sutliffe), ppg, 18:21
Saves: PSU Gordon Ceasar 23; SSU Sutliffe 16
Records: PSU 14-11-2; SSU 16-9-2