Morelli earns shutout, Volonnino pots game-winner for Panthers
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Junior Evan Morelli (Reading, Mass.) turned aside 17 shots and classmate Matt Volonnino (Hackettstown, N.J.) scored in the game's first two minutes as Plymouth State University earned a 2-0 shutout win over Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) opponent Fitchburg State University at Hanaway Rink on Thursday night.
With the win the Panthers improve to 3-1-0 overall while evening their MASCAC record at 1-1-0, while the Falcons drop to 2-2-1 and 0-1-1 in league play.
Volonnino gave Plymouth State the early lead with a goal just 1:53 into the game. The Panthers got the puck deep into the offensive zone and with a scrum in front of the Falcons goal the junior drove home the loose puck. Freshman JR Barone (West Chester, Pa.) and junior Ryan Stevens (Colleyville, Texas) were credited with the assists. The Panthers kept the pressure on, outshooting Fitchburg 12-4 in the period, but FSU freshman goaltender Brian McGrath (Worcester, Mass.) kept the deficit at one.
Plymouth State added even more offensive pressure in the second period, testing McGrath time and again. The Panthers fired 25 shots on goal, finally breaking through at the 10:20 mark. Skating a man-down, passes from junior Quinn Carroll (Amherst, N.H.) and sophomore Alec LeFave (Hudson, N.H.) set up junior Tim Perron (Northborough, Mass.), who slipped a backhanded shot past McGrath to the glove side, increasing the lead to 2-0.
PSU nearly added a third goal early in the third period, but a slap shot from sophomore Drake Longaker (San Jose, Calif.) from the left circle deflected off the pipe.
McGrath was excellent in net for the Falcons. In a game that easily could have been lopsided, the rookie ended up with an impressive 48 saves on 50 shots. Despite the effort, he dropped 1-1-0, while Morelli remained perfect at 3-0-0.
The Panthers are on the road for a MASCAC game at UMass Dartmouth on Saturday (4:30 p.m.), while Fitchburg will host Framingham State in a league game next Thursday (Nov. 16) with puck-drop set for 7:00 p.m.
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