Laviolette, Zuccaro and Bergstrom score for Panthers
MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – Plymouth State University scored a pair of goals just 30 seconds apart to take a one-goal lead in the third period, but Wesleyan University netted a power play score just over four minutes later to earn a 3-3 tie in non-conference men's hockey action Sunday afternoon at the Spurrier-Snyder Rink.
Plymouth State moves to 5-2-1 on the year, while Wesleyan goes to 1-1-2.
The Panthers entered the final period trailing 2-1, but quick strikes from senior Chris Zuccaro (Hudson, N.H.) and sophomore Victor Bergstrom (Angelholm, Sweden) put the visitors in front. In PSU's first power play opportunity of the game, junior Ryan Stevens (Colleyville, Texas) controlled the puck in the zone, skated around the net and passed to classmate Matt Volonnino (Hackettstown, N.J.) on the boards. Volonnino walked off the boards and fired a shot that Zuccaro was able to tip past Wesleyan sophomore goaltender Tim Sestak (Darien, Conn.) just 1:12 into the final period to even the score at 2-2.
Bergstrom found the back of the net exactly 30 seconds later. The 6-0 defenseman fired a quick shot to the upper right corner on a feed from Stevens to give PSU a 3-2 lead. The play was set up by freshman JR Barone (West Chester, Pa.), who won a battle for the puck below the goal line and passed out to Stevens, who found Bergstrom coming down the boards.
The lead was short-lived, however, as junior Chad Malinowski (Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.) leveled the score with his first goal of the year, a power play tally, at the 5:59 mark.
Both teams had opportunities in the final 14 minutes of regulation and the overtime period, but neither was able to break through. PSU's best opportunity came when sophomore Alec LeFave (Hudson, N.H.) streaked through the crease from the left side, then fired a backhanded shot at the net with a minute remaining in overtime, but Sestak was up to the challenge. Freshman Marc Happy (Sterling, Mass.) added a pair of shots in the final ten seconds of play with traffic in front of the Wesleyan goal, but Sestak made two key saves to preserve the tie.
Plymouth State took a 1-0 lead in the opening period. Sophomore Tim Larocque (Middleboro, Mass.) bumped the puck down the wall and freshman Jake Gerbner (Havertown, Pa.) made a great pass to a streaking Peter Laviolette (Nashville, Tenn.). The freshman forward showed great patience, tucking the puck around Sestak for his second of the year.
The hosts scored twice in the second period to control. Junior Sean Ross (San Diego, Calif.) knotted the score at one apiece with a power play goal from the left point with 7:38 left in the period. Senior Dylan Holze (Lynbrook, N.Y.) notched his team-leading fifth goal of the year with 4:11 remaining to put the Cardinals ahead 2-1.
Sophomore Thierry Messervier (Montreal, Que.) made 32 saves in his second start of the season, moving to 0-1-1 on the year. Sestek finished with 30 saves to earn his second tie of the year (0-0-2).
Plymouth State is back in Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) play this week. The Panthers will travel to Framingham State for a 7:40 p.m. league-game on Thursday night, before playing host to Westfield State on Saturday night (6:00 p.m.) in the team's annual Teddy Bear Toss game.
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