Volonnino, Covach continue hot start for Panthers
EASTON, Mass. – Senior Matt Volonnino (Hackettstown, N.J.) notched a goal and three assists and classmate Michael Covach (Shillington, Pa.) added a goal and an assist as the Plymouth State University men's ice hockey team held off NCAA Division II Stonehill College by a 5-3 score Saturday evening.
The Panthers jumped out to a 3-0 lead midway through the second period before Stonehill cut the deficit to 3-1. Freshman Ben Chipman (North Vancouver, B.C.) tallied his first career goal to extend the lead to 4-1 and the score remained the same into the third period.
The Skyhawks cut the deficit to 4-3 after a pair of goals 38 seconds apart before senior Ryan Stevens (Colleyville, Texas) put the game away with an empty net tally in the final minute.
Covach currently leads all of Division II/III with 3.33 points per game (4G, 6A), while Volonnino is second with 3.00 points per game (2G, 7A).
Plymouth State improves to 3-0-0, while the Skyhawks fall to 0-1-0.
Plymouth State 5, Stonehill 3
Plymouth State 3-0-0
How it Happened:
* Volonnino put the Panthers ahead late in the first period. With 4:28 left in the frame he picked up his second goal of the season on the power play with assists from Covach and Stevens.
* Covach picked up his team-leading fourth goal of the year at the 7:55 mark of the second, converting feeds from freshman Mike McPherson (Somerville, Mass.) and Volonnino.
* Junior Victor Bergstrom (Angelholm, Sweden) extended the lead to 3-0 with his third tally of the year, this time on the power play, with assists from senior Tim Perron (Northborough, Mass.) and Volonnino with 9:49 left in the period.
* Stonehill junior Zachary Frament (Concord, N.H.) got one back for the home team 50 seconds later, but Chipman restored the three-goal lead with his first collegiate goal just 69 seconds later when he converted passes from seniors Quinn Carroll (Amherst, N.H.) and Ludvig Steenberg (Stockholm, Sweden).
* With a three goal lead it looked like the Panthers had the game in hand, but Stonehill rallied midway through the third period. Junior Ryan Meade (Tewksbury, Mass.) made it a 4-2 game with 7:02 left to play, and classmate Jack Hall (Shelburne, Vt.) cut the deficit to one 38 seconds later.
* Plymouth State found itself shorthanded with just 1:16 left to play. With a Panthers' skater in the box, Stonehill pulled its goalie for a 6 on 4 advantage, but PSU's penalty kill was up to the challenge and Stevens put the game away with his empty-netter with five seconds to play.
Inside the Numbers:
* Junior Andreas Pettersson (Trollhattan, Sweden) made 22 saves to pick up his first win of the year, while senior Billy Palmer (Cranston, R.I.) turned aside 43 shots for the Skyhawks.
* The Panthers outshot Stonehill 48-25 for the game, including 21-6 in the first period.
* Plymouth State won 51-of-87 face-offs, led by Steenberg who captured 18-of-27.
* PSU improves to 21-7 against the Skyhawks dating back to the 1987-88 season. The Panthers have won nine of the last ten meetings.
Straight from the Coach's Mouth:
"I think we played well early and got a lot of momentum from our power play," said head coach Craig Russell. "We got away from our game at times and had to scrap together something for the third period. [Stonehill goaltender] Billy Palmer played a great game and kept Stonehill in it and they were opportunistic in the last half of the game. I'm glad we got the win, but we need a better mental effort as we move into conference play next week."
* The Panthers jump back into MASCAC play with a road contest at Fitchburg State on Thursday (Nov. 8) at 7:00 p.m.
* Stonehill kicks off Northeast-10 play on Tuesday (Nov. 6) with a game at Assumption. Puck drop is set for 7:35 p.m.
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