Zuccaro, Volonnino, Barone all score twice in MASCAC victory
WESTFIELD, Mass. – Senior Chris Zuccaro (Hudson, N.H.) tallied two goals and two assists to lead the Plymouth State University men's ice hockey team to an 8-2 victory over Westfield State University in a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) game at Amelia Park Ice Arena on Saturday evening.
With the victory PSU extends its winning streak to seven straight games and improves to 15-3-1 overall. The Panthers are now 11-1-0 in MASCAC play, having won 11-straight league games. Westfield State dips to 5-11-1 and 3-8-0 in conference play.
The Panthers found their offense quickly, exploding for four first period goals including a trio of power play tallies. Freshman JR Barone (West Chester, Pa.) opened the scoring with his eighth goal of the season with a power play strike just seven minutes into the game. Junior Ludvig Steenberg (Stockholm, Sweden) picked up the assist.
Plymouth State doubled its lead just 16 seconds later with another power play goal, this time from sophomore Victor Bergstrom (Angelholm, Sweden).
The Owls cut the lead back to one when senior Jeremy Young (Lynnfield, Mass.) slipped a shorthanded goal past junior goalie Evan Morelli (Reading, Mass.) midway through the first period, but Zuccaro answered with his sixth and seventh goals of the year to give Plymouth State a 4-1 lead and chase sophomore goalkeeper Kameron Limburg (Howell, Mich.) from the Westfield net.
Westfield State would strike back with another special team's goal in the second period when sophomore Daniel Backstrom (Helsinki, Finland) found the back of the net on the power play nine minutes in. Barone would score his second of the game two minutes later to restore Plymouth's three goal lead and the score would remain 5-2 heading into the third period.
PSU would bang home three more goals in the period, with junior Matt Volonnino (Hackettstown, N.J.) becoming the third Panther with two goals in the game. He notched an unassisted, shorthanded goal at the 7:53 mark, and added his second on a power play with 5:32 to play, with freshman Christian La Croix (Northford, Conn.) potting his second goal of the year between Volonnino's tallies.
Morelli finished the night with 25 saves to extend his personal winning streak to six straight games while moving to 12-1-0 on the year. Limburg made 15 saves in the first, with freshman Brian Holmberg (Indian Trail, N.C.) making 22 stops over the final 40 minutes. Limburg drops to 4-10-1 on the season.
The Panthers finished 4-of-7 on the power play and outshot the Owls by a 45-27 margin.
With the win, PSU opens up a nine-point lead in the MASCAC as the team inches closer to locking up the first seed for the playoffs. The Panthers will be back on the road again Thursday (Feb. 1) for a MASCAC contest at Worcester State (7:00 p.m.)
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