Three-goal third period ices MASCAC victory for Panthers
FITCHBURG, Mass. – Sophomore Colt Smelstor (Fairfax, Vt.) scored the go-ahead goal with 11:45 remaining in the third period Thursday evening and Plymouth State University went on to a 4-1 victory over Fitchburg State University in Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) men's ice hockey action at the Wallace Civic Center.
Sophomore Zach Fox (Sandown, N.H.) added an insurance goal for the Panthers with 1:45 to play and an empty-netter from freshman Mike Economos (Crystal Lake, Ill.) sealed the win. PSU improved to 6-9 overall and an even 4-4 in the MASCAC, good for fourth place, while Fitchburg dropped to 6-8 overall and fifth place at 3-4 in conference play.
Plymouth State grabbed the lead at the 8:19 mark of the opening period when sophomore Andrew Wigg (Lantz, N.S.) received the draw from senior Phil Arnone (Litchfield, N.H.) and fired a shot into the upper left corner for his fifth tally of the season and a 1-0 lead going into the first intermission.
The Panthers nearly doubled their lead with about five minutes remaining in the second period as Economos intercepted a pass and skated in alone on Falcon goaltender Ryan Wysocki (Grand Rapids, Mich.) but Wysocki made an outstanding save to his left.
Fitchburg State's best scoring opportunity came minutes later when freshman Jon Johannesson (Red Lake, Ont.) and sophomore Mike Morrison (Scarborough, Maine) each fired shots on net that Plymouth State netminder Gordon Ceasar (Oak Park, Calif.) turned aside to preserve the 1-0 advantage after two periods of play.
The Falcons knotted the score at the 3:21 mark of the final period as freshman Mike Fish (Salisbury, Mass.) collected a rebound off the stick of junior Craig Halpin (Irvington, N.Y.) and slid the puck inside the far post for his first collegiate score.
Plymouth State regained the lead for good midway through the frame when Smelstor gathered the puck off the end boards and fired a shot into the back of the net for his third goal on the season with assists from freshmen Ty Griffith (Rocklin, Calif.) and Erik Strom (Gothenburg, Sweden) for the 2-1 margin. The visitors secured the victory at the 18:15 mark as Fox collected a loose puck at center ice and blasted shot into the upper right side of the net for his fourth goal of the season to make the score 3-1. Economos capped the game's scoring with an empty netter with 13 seconds remaining the game, resulting in the 4-1 final.
Plymouth State held a 36-30 advantage in shots. Wysocki stopped 32 shots for Fitchburg State in the setback, while Ceasar made 29 saves to earn the win for the Panthers.
Both teams play again Saturday as Fitchburg State visits the Lancers of Worcester State University at 4:45 p.m. and Plymouth State hosts the Corsairs of UMass Dartmouth at 6 p.m.
(Courtesy of Fitchburg State Sports Information)
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