BIDDEFORD — Fifth-seeded Nichols College struck for three goals in a span of 97 seconds during the initial portion of the 2nd period, breaking open a one-goal game on the way to an 8-3 victory over third-seeded University of New England in the final of the 2018 Commonwealth Coast Conference Men’s Ice Hockey Championship on Saturday night at a sold-out Harold Alfond Forum.

The Bison (17-8-3) captured their third road win of the league tournament to earn the CCC’s automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Championship.

Scott Cuthrell and Filip Virgili each had two goals and one assist for Nichols, while Hogan Davidson accounted for three assists. Between the pipes, Colin Brennan turned in 36 saves.

The visitors jumped ahead just 48 seconds into the match on a goal by Vincent Crivello. UNE answered at the 8:15 mark on a goal by Tyler Seltenreich, but Chris Deming restored the NC advantage four minutes later.

Cuthrell netted goals at 5:57 and 7:10 of the middle frame, before setting up J.B. Baker in another 24 ticks to extend the margin to 5-1.

Dimitris Jones cashed in on a power-play chance for the Nor’easters to make it 5-2 entering the 3rd stanza, and Brady Fleurent (Biddeford) (CCC 1st Team) reduced the deficit to 5-3 with 14 minutes to go. However, Virgili found the back of the net less than two minutes later to slow the UNE momentum.

Nicholas Mangone padded the cushion (7-3) with a short-handed goal just past the midway point, and an empty-netter from Virgili capped the scoring down the stretch.

For the Nor’easters, starting goaltender Ben Churchfield made 12 stops in a little more than 27 minutes of action, before Tate Sproxton recorded 14 saves the rest of the way. Jones and Fleurent also had assists during the evening to end with two points.

The Nor’easters will host Colby on Saturday in the first round of the NCAA tournament at the Harold Alfond Forum.

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