Volonnino, Covach lead Panthers in season opener
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Senior Michael Covach (Shillington, Pa.) notched two goals and a pair of assists, while classmate Matt Volonnino (Hackettstown, N.J.) added a goal and two assists as the Plymouth State University men's ice hockey team soared past Johnson & Wales University, 5-0, in the season-opener at Hanaway Rink on Saturday night.
Seven different players recorded a point for the Panthers, who scored twice in a matter of 71 seconds late in the first period and never looked back, while four players posted multi-point games. In addition to Covach and Volonnino, junior Victor Bergstrom (Angelholm, Sweden) added a goal and an assist, as senior Tim Perron (Nothborough, Mass.) chipped in with two helpers.
Senior Evan Morelli (Reading, Mass.) was perfect in goal for PSU, stopping all 18 shots he faced to earn the shutout win.
Plymouth State moves to 1-0-0, while the Wildcats fall to 0-1-0.
Plymouth State 5, Johnson & Wales 0
Plymouth State 1-0-0
Johnson & Wales 0-1-0
How it Happened:
* JWU had a scoring chance 12 minutes in when sophomore Craig Hessenius (Brookfield, Conn.) ripped a shot from the point high to the stick side, but Morelli got his shoulder on the puck and it deflected off the pipe and out of play.
* Volonnino nearly broke through a minute later, but his backhanded attempt was stuffed by sophomore goaltender Mike Rockwell (Poughquag, N.Y.).
* Covach picked up the first goal of the year for the Panthers at the 16:37 mark when he collected a pass from behind the goal line and beat Rockwell.
* Plymouth struck again just 1:11 later when senior Ludvig Steenberg (Stockholm, Sweden) collected a pass in the slot and beat Rockwell five-hole.
* Volonnino got on the board just 1:12 into the second period when he stuffed a rebound in on the left side to extend the lead to 3-0.
* Covach picked up his second of the game 7:33 into the second when he tipped in a shot from the top of the left circle on the far post.
* Junior Victor Bergstrom (Angelholm, Sweden) capped the scoring early in the third period.
Inside the Numbers:
* The Panthers outshot JWU by a 28-18 margin.
* Rockwell made 23 stops for the Wildcats.
* Plymouth State went 2-for-6 with the man advantage, while the Wildcats were 0-for-5.
* The Panthers have won each of the last five meetings between the two teams, though they hadn't played since Feb. 2009.
Straight from the Coach's Mouth:
"Everybody's as good as everyone this time of year," said head coach Craig Russell. "We have to play our game and we wanted to force Johnson & Wales to play at a pace they weren't comfortable with. We did a better job of that in the second period."
* Plymouth State opens the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) slate on Tuesday (Oct. 30) when the Panthers welcome Worcester State to Hanaway Rink for a 6:00 p.m. game.
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