Nicholas R. LaBounty '09 scored the winning goal just 2:32 into the contest and Timothy E. Studley '07 helped pad the lead with two tallies of his own, as the Engineers blanked Western Connecticut State University 4-0 in Northeast Collegiate Hockey Association (NECHA) Conference A semi-final action on Saturday evening.
The victory advanced MIT to the conference final on Sunday night against UMass-Amherst.
MIT (13-5-1) completed the season sweep over Western Connecticut (8-15-2); the Engineers defeated the Colonials 11-1 earlier in the campaign.
LaBounty, who leads the team in points with 36 on 21 goals and 15 assists, bagged the winner just over two and half minutes into the game off a feed from defenseman Nicholas J. Maietta '07.
The remainder of the first period belonged to the goaltenders — in particular Western Connecticut's Steve Grota, whose net was barraged with shots from every angle. By game's end, the Cardinal and Gray had pounded the Colonials' net with 62 shots — 58 of which Grota managed to keep out.
Brian A. LaCrosse '07 gave Tech a bit of insurance at 6:49 of the second period, as he extended the lead to 2-0 after converting a feed from William G. Near '10.
Studley then notched his first with under three minutes remaining in the middle period to stretch the margin to 3-0. LaCrosse and Dustin P. Kendrick '10 provided the helpers. Michael C. Kozlowski '08 fed Studley for his second midway through the third to seal the victory.
Amazingly, all four Tech goals were scored at even-strength, as neither team managed to take advantage of several power play opportunities. MIT finished 0-for-8 with the extra skater, while Western Connecticut was 0-for-5.
Thomas A. Hopkins '07 picked up the win in net for the Engineers, earning his third shutout of the season and lowering his goals-against-average to a sparkling 2.05. Grota took the loss for the Colonials, despite his 58-save performance.