Westfield State Surges Past Western New England in Season Opener, 6-3

Senior Matt O'Dea scored in the second period of Western New England's season-opening loss to Westfield State on Friday night. (Photo by Rachael Margossian)
Senior Matt O'Dea scored in the second period of Western New England's season-opening loss to Westfield State on Friday night. (Photo by Rachael Margossian)

McAllister, Graham & O'Dea score for Golden Bears

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (October 26, 2018) – The Westfield State University ice hockey team surged past Western New England University with a trio of third period goals to earn a 6-3 victory over the Golden Bears on Friday night in the season opener for both teams at the Olympia Ice Center.

Top Performers
Western New England was led offensively by freshman Colton McAllister (Henniker, N.H.), who produced a two-point effort with a goal and an assist in his collegiate debut.

Seniors Connor Graham (Norfolk, Mass.) and Matt O'Dea (Orland Park, Ill.) also scored for the Golden Bears, while freshman Connor Geshan (Oakton, Va.) handed out a pair of assists.

Junior FX Girard (St. Lazare, Quebec) and freshman Justin Collins (Wilmington, Mass.) fueled the Westfield State offense with two goals each.

Junior Daniel Backstrom (Helsinki, Finland) produced a one-goal, two-assist effort and won 14-of-23 face-offs, while senior Aaron Clancy (Quincy, Mass.) chipped in with three assists.

Game Review
Girard got the Owls on the board 6:25 into the contest with the help of assists from Backstrom and Clancy, but the Golden Bears tied the score with just over seven minutes left in the opening frame when McAllister took the puck into the offensive zone on a 2-on-1 and fired a shot into the top right corner of the net. 

The two teams went back and forth in the second period, as Collins put Westfield State back in front early before O'Dea scored an unassisted goal midway through the frame. Backstrom gave the Owls another brief lead with 5:36 on the clock, but Graham's goal 30 seconds later knotted the score for the third time heading into the second intermission.

The final 20 minutes belonged to Westfield State, as the Owls took the lead for good on a goal by senior defenseman Lenny Caglianone (Matawan, N.J.) 3:22 into the third period. Collins scored an insurance goal with less than three minutes to play, and Girard buried a late empty-netter to cap the scoring.

Notes
• Westfield State outshot Western New England 28-26, including 12-8 in the third period.
• The Owls also held a slight 30-29 edge in the faceoff circle.

Up Next
Western New England (0-1) will be off for a week before opening Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) play at home against Endicott College next Friday night. Westfield State (1-0) travels to Johnson & Wales on Tuesday.