Panthers score four times in second period to win home opener
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The Plymouth State University men's ice hockey team erupted for four goals in less than three minutes to fly past NCAA Division II opponent Stonehill College, 5-1, in the home opener at Hanaway Rink Saturday night.
The Panthers improved to 2-1-0 on the season, while Stonehill drops its season opener to move to 0-1-0.
Senior Chris Zuccaro (Hudson, N.H.) scored a pair of goals and assisted on another as four different Panthers found the back of the net. Sophomore Victor Bergstrom (Angelholm, Sweden) added a goal and an assist, with junior Quinn Carroll (Amherst, N.H.) and classmate Tim Perron (Northborough, Mass.) also adding goals.
PSU dominated play through the first 35 minutes but held just a 1-0 lead thanks to Zuccaro's first score. The 6-1 forward skated around the left side and into the middle, firing a wrist shot from the point to the bottom left corner past Stonehill junior goalkeeper Billy Palmer (Cranston, R.I.). The Panthers fired 20 shots in the opening period alone, and held a 27-14 edge in shots with just under three minutes remaining in the second period, but Palmer made a number of sprawling saves to keep the Skyhawks close.
Then the PSU offense exploded. Junior Cam Cundy (Portsmouth, N.H.) set up Carroll at 17:22, and Zuccaro potted his second of the game, this time on a power play, less than a minute later. Bergstrom got into the action with a goal at 19:38 with assists to junior Michael Covach (Shillington, Pa.) and Zuccaro and Perron closed the period with a wrist shot from the right side through traffic with just 1.5 seconds left in the period. Junior Ludvig Steenberg (Stockholm, Sweden) won a faceoff at the right circle pushing the puck to sophomore Drake Longaker (San Jose, Calif.) who found Perron for the goal.
Stonehill avoided the shutout with a goal early in the third period. Sophomore Connor Cassidy (Wilmington, Del.) had his shot from the point deflect off both the left and right posts before dribbling into the back of the net. It appeared the Skyhawks had cut the deficit to 5-2 moments later, but their goal was waived off due to goalie interference.
Junior Evan Morelli (Reading, Mass.) made 17 saves to earn the win and improve to 2-0-0 on the year. Palmer was busy in net making 33 saves.
Plymouth State hosts Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) opponent Fitchburg State for a 6:00 p.m. contest on Thursday (Nov. 9). The Panthers have not opened conference play with an 0-2 mark since the 2001-02 season. Stonehill opens its home schedule with a Northeast-10 game against Assumption College on Tuesday (Nov. 7) with puck-drop set for 7:00 p.m.
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