MEDFORD, Mass. - Junior co-captain Eric Ryan (North Chelmsford, MA) scored a hat trick, including two key goals in the third period, to lift the Plymouth State Panthers to a 4-3 victory over the Tufts Jumbos in ECAC Northeast Division hockey action Saturday night.
The game was a defensive battle for two periods before the offenses broke out for six goals combined in the third period. Plymouth, leading 1-0 after Ryan's first goal at 15:47 of the first, moved ahead 2-0 less than two minutes in the third on senior Todd Hengstenberg's (Clark, NJ) unassisted tally. Tufts cut the lead to 2-1 at 6:26, finally beating solid Plymouth freshman goalie Larry Forgue (Nashua, NH) with junior co-captain Drew Carleton's (Shaker Height's, OH) first of two goals.
Plymouth regained its two goal lead, 3-1, at 7:38 when Ryan finished a play that resulted from a turnover int he Tufts zone. Eighty seconds later, the Jumbos again pulled to within one, 3-2, when junior Tom Feeley (Westwood, MA) scored. Tufts pulled junior goalie Eric Schneider (Highland Park, IL) in the final minute for the extra skater, and Ryan notched his hat trick with an empty netter. Carleton raced down the ice and pulled Tufts to within 4-3 just 11 seconds later, but the Jumbos could not get the equalizer.
Forgue stopped 36 shots for Plymouth, which nudged over .500 to 9-8 overall and moved to 7-4 in the Northeast. Tufts lost for the third time in four games and dropped to 5-5 and 4-2.
Plymouth State will face former coach Sal Leale Tuesday night (Jan. 16) at Massachusetts College in North Adams, Mass. (7:30 p.m.). Leale coached the Panthers for two seasons before leaving to take the Mass. College job in September of 1998. Current PSC head coach Mike Bonelli was an assistant to Leale last season.
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