WESTFIELD, Mass. – Westfield State sophomore forward Jake Ratcliffe (Canterbury, New Zealand) netted a hat trick in the Owls' 6-2 win over Johnson and Wales on Tuesday night at Amelia Park Ice Arena.
It was the first hat trick of Ratcliffe's career, and all three goals came from wristers in the slot.
Westfield State controlled much of the first period play, spending ample time in the Wildcats end and outshooting them 18-8. The Owls finally capitalized on all of the pressure while down a man when Jake Ratcliffe netted his first of the night off a wrister in the slot to put the home team up 1-0. The tally marked the second shorthanded goal in two games for the Owls.
The Owls would tack on two goals in the remaining four minutes from freshman John-Michael DiGregorio (Montreal, Quebec) and another from Ratcliffe to put Westfield State up 3-0 before the end of the period.
But the Wildcats responded quickly in the second, with a tally only 1:29 into the frame to bring the game to 3-1. Senior Conor Cassidy (Wilmington, Del.) carried the puck all the way up the left-hand side of the ice and slid a 2-on-1 pass over to linemate Connor Bechtel (Doylestown, Pa.) who potted his first of the season.
That margin would quickly be put back to three when Senior Captain Francois-Xavier Girard (St. Lazare, Quebec) one-timed a nifty backhand pass from DiGregorio into the back of the twine for the 4-1 Owl lead.
Westfield State would tack on two to start the third period, once from Ratcliffe's hat-trick tally and the other from senior Robert Neuwirth (Zlin, Czech Republic) to put the Owls ahead for good.
The Wildcats grabbed a goal from senior Matt Bernot (Old Westbury, N.Y.) late, but it would be too-little, too-late for the visiting squad.
Westfield State held the edge in shots, 44-34, with goaltender Kam Limburg (Howel, Mich.) making 32 saves for the Owls. Mike Rockwell (Poughquag, N.Y.) took the loss for the wildcats making 38 saves in the effort.
With the win, the Owls improve to 3-3-2, while Johnson and Wales drops to 0-6.
The Owls pause for the Thanksgiving break and don't return to action until next Thursday, December 5th when they host MASCAC opponent Framingham State. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:35 p.m.
Johnson and Wales will next host Western New England in non-conference play on Sunday beginning at 4:00 p.m.