Bombers Nick Short - Rookie of the Week - MASCAC NCAA Div. III

by James Talluto

WESTFIELD, Mass. – University of Massachusetts Dartmouth senior Jerry Laakso (Tampere, Finland) led a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) weekly awards sweep for the Corsairs, earning Player of the Week accolades on Monday. He was joined by senior Drew Michals (Newton, Mass.), who earned Goalkeeper of the Week, and freshman Nicholas Short (Los Angeles, Calif.) who was tabbed Rookie of the Week.

Laakso put forth his first career hat trick in the most crucial of games for UMass Dartmouth on Saturday. Against No. 5/6 UMass Boston, the defenseman registered the last three goals for the Corsairs, including the game-winner in overtime to seal the victory. The win marked the first for a UMass Dartmouth team over a ranked opponent since March 8, 2006, when the Corsairs defeated No. 6 Geneseo in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Laakso culminated his week with seven points, as he netted a pair of goals and assists in UMass Dartmouth’s 11-6 win over Franklin Pierce on Thursday. In his past three games, the captain has 12 points, and ranks sixth nationally amongst defensemen this so far this season with 1.23 points per game (16 total points).

Michals returned to the ice on Saturday, standing strong between the pipes to backstop the Corsairs over the Beacons. The senior turned aside 51 shots on the game, tying his second-highest career total for a .927 save percentage. He registered 21 of his saves in the second period, and made a point-blank stop on a breakaway to keep the score knotted at four to end regulation. On the season, Michals owns a 3.66 goals against average.

Against Franklin Pierce on Thursday, Short put forth a career outing in the scoring column. He posted his first career goal early in the first period, and later potted what proved to be the game-winner to put UMass Dartmouth up 7-1 in the second. The defenseman then assisted on a goal in the third period to cap his three-point performance.

The Corsairs rose to 6-6-1 on the season on Saturday, and close the calendar year on a high note by handing the Beacons just their third loss of the season. UMass Dartmouth currently sits as the most productive scoring offense in the MASCAC, averaging 4.15 goals per game in 13 games, and will return to the ice on Saturday, Jan. 6 at Fitchburg State for conference play.