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Norwell’s Mark Macdonald has finishing touch on ice at Salem State

Mark Macdonald had a rough start to his senior year season.

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Mark Macdonald had a rough start to his senior year season.

Skating beyond setback

Mark Macdonald would like to forget the start of his senior season on the ice at Salem State University. After blocking a shot in practice before Thanksgiving, he suffered an ankle injury and was out of the lineup for a while.

The 22-year-old forward from Norwell missed several games.

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When he finally worked his way back into the lineup, he was ineffective, and was a healthy scratch. He was beginning to wonder if his final season might be a wash.

“It wasn’t the way I wanted to end my senior year,” said Macdonald, a 2009 graduate of Xaverian Brothers in Westwood who played one season in the Eastern Junior Hockey League before enrolling at Salem State.

“I knew I could be a top six forward for this team. But I wasn’t scoring.”

His outlook changed on Feb. 15, when the 5-foot-11, 160-pond Macdonald delivered a hat trick in a 5-2 victory over the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. That triggered a six-game stretch in which Macdonald contributed five goals and three assists.

Macdonald assisted on the winning goal in the Vikings’ 5-2 victory over Plymouth State to clinch the Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference championship. The win vaulted the Vikings into the NCAA Division 3 tourney for the first time since 1995. Salem played at Norwich in a first-round game Wednesday night.

In 19 total games, Macdonald has contributed six goals and six assists, but the majority of his production came in the final three weeks of the season. He also scored a pair of goals in a 5-2 win over Worcester State in the final regular-season game.

His most productive season was as a sophomore, when he tallied six goals and 13 assists.

“Mark is a very hard worker who has worked through some adversity,” said Salem State coach Bill O’Neill. “He’s part of a very special senior group that has given us great leadership. He is thought of very highly on campus. He’s emerged as a better player each year and is a big part of our success right now. Mark is a top six forward for us who can make offense happen.”

Prior to his current scoring streak, Macdonald’s only other goal of the season came in November when his overtime tally lifted Salem to a 4-3 win over UMass-Dartmouth.

“I cracked the lineup again in late January, scored the hat trick and I’ve been scoring continually ever since,” said Macdonald, a finance major who played a year of junior hockey with the Bridgewater Bandits (EJHL) after graduating from Xaverian.

“It was frustrating not playing. I’ve been a scorer here before and I thought I had proven myself over four years. I finally got a shot on one of the top lines on senior night and solidified my spot in the lineup. My line (including Eric Defelice and Brandon Platt) is playing great. We are the top power play unit and everything is really clicking.”

Babson outdoes Norwich

Senior Nik Tasiopoulos of Norwell scored the game-winner midway through the third period to lift Babson to a 2-1 victory over Norwich in the ECAC East championship game Saturday. JamieMurray, a sophomore from Scituate, turned away 38 shots in the victory to earn tourney Most Outstanding Player honors. Babson (22-4-2), which received a first-round bye in the NCAA Division 3 tourney, will host either Oswego or Bowdoin in Saturday’s quarterfinal round. Freshman Tyler Piacentini (three goals, seven assists this season) of Weymouth scored Norwich’s only goal against Babson.

Amherst’s Martin’s moves

Canton’s Erin Martin, a sophomore forward for the Amherst women’s hockey team, has been named a second team selection to the all-New England Small College Athletic Conference squad. Martin registered 10 goals and added 10 assists, the only player to reach double figures in both categories for the Lord Jeffs. Martin had a team-high five power goals. . . .

Freshman defender Matt Sullivan (Duxbury) assisted on Bowdoin’s first goal in a 3-2 double overtime victory over Amherst to capture the NESCAC championship. The BC High graduate has two goals and two assists on the season. Bowdoin (17-8-2) played at Oswego Wednesday night.

Crough pushes Endicott

Cohasset’s Samantha Crough posted a double-double in her final collegiate game to lead the Endicott women’s basketball team to its first-ever ECAC Division 3 championship with a 79-76 win over Smith College. Crough (19 points, 11 rebounds) garnered Most Outstanding Player honors in the tourney. Junior Kayleen Whall of Foxborough added 16 points off the bench for Endicott, while senior center Julie Manning (Hull) had four points and four rebounds. . . .

Senior Kristen Hoffman of Foxborough wrapped up her stellar career on the court at Framingham State in a 67-64 loss to Endicott in the ECAC semifinals. In a team-high 1,090 minutes (400 more than any teammate), Hoffman paced the Rams in scoring (14.9 points), steals (91), assists (78), and 3-pointers (65 made). A first-team MASCAC pick, she will gradaute second on the program’s all-time scoring list. . . . .

Senior midfielder Rebecca McGovern (Weymouth) scored five goals and added one assist to lead Williams to a season-opening 12-8 victory over Bowdoin. McGovern also won four draw controls, and was the Player of the Week in the NESCAC. Freshman Tina Balzotti (Duxbury) scored four goals in her collegiate debut to lead Connecticut College to a 9-8 victory over Babson.

John R. Johnson can be reached at jjohnson49@comcast.com.

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