Freitag scores twice as Panthers stop skid
BABSON PARK, Mass. – Sophomore Mike Freitag (Westmont, Ill.) scored two goals Saturday afternoon as Plymouth State University defeated Babson College, 4-2, in a non-conference men's ice hockey contest featuring two nationally ranked teams at the Babson Skating Center.
PSU stopped a two-game losing streak and improved to 9-3-0 this season while Babson had its seven-game win streak come to an end and fell to 7-3-2. The Beavers were coming off the championship of the Middlebury Holiday Classic where they defeated #14 Middlebury and #12 Manhattanville; PSU and Babson both received votes in the latest Division III national poll.
After a scoreless first period, Plymouth State benefited from a fortunate bounce to claim the game's first goal just 20 seconds into the second. Beavers' freshman goalie Jamie Murray (Scituate, Mass.) went behind the net to collect a puck sent in along the left boards by PSU senior Kyle Weiland (Hampden, Maine), but the puck took an awkward bounce and caromed into the wide open slot. Freitag skated in and potted an easy goal for a 1-0 Panther lead.
Babson evened the contest at 5:37, beginning when junior Connor Berto (Lake Forest, Ill.) sent a long pass up-ice to streaking senior PT Donato (Arlington, Mass.). Plymouth State goalie Jack Astedt (Angelholm, Sweden) managed to stop Donato's initial backhand as well as junior Ryan Heavey's (Andover, Mass.) follow-up, but junior Troy Starrett (Bellingham, Mass.) collected the second rebound and drove home his sixth goal of the season from the left circle.
Plymouth State moved back in front courtesy of another Freitag goal. On the powerplay, senior Alex Cottle (West Chester, Pa.) took a long pass from sophomore Zach Sarig (Reading, Pa.) and broke in on Murray. The Beavers' rookie denied Cottle's shot attempt, but Freitag was there to put back the rebound for his second of the day and sixth of the winter at 12:32.
The Panthers added a huge short-handed goal late in the second, as senior Matt Aponte (Plano, Texas) took the puck away at his own blue line and scored his first goal of the season on the breakaway at 18:58. That would give the visitors a 3-1 cushion heading into the final period of play.
Babson dominated the third, outshooting the visitors by a count of 22-5 for a 45-23 advantage overall. However, Astedt was sensational in the closing session, stopping all but one of Babson's attempts to finish with 43 saves for the game. His lone blemish in the third came after the Beavers pulled Murray for an extra skater late in regulation. Junior Ben Kravitz (Huntington, N.Y.) fired a shot from the right side that was blocked in front, but sophomore Andrew Bonazza (Dartmouth, Nova Scotia) stuffed home the rebound from the lower right circle for his fourth marker of year at 17:02.
With the lead down to just one, Plymouth State finally put the game out of reach just 18 seconds later, as Cottle gained control and sent a pass to a wide-open Andrew Wigg (Lantz, Nova Scotia) just outside the Babson zone. Wigg then put home the easy empty-net goal at 17:20 - his fourth of the campaign - to give the Panthers a 4-2 cushion that they would not relinquish.
Murray played 56:56 in net for Babson and finished with 19 saves.
Plymouth State returns to action on Tuesday night with a home game against Castleton State at 6 p.m. The Beavers will look to get back on the winning track when they head to Saint Michael's and Norwich for a pair of ECAC East matchups this coming Friday and Saturday.
(Courtesy of Babson Sports Information)
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