Stevens, Covach record two-point games for Panthers
BIDDEFORD, Maine – Seniors Ryan Stevens (Colleyville, Texas) and Michael Covach (Shillington, Pa.) each tallied a goal and an assist as Plymouth State University skated to a 3-3 tie with #11/#12 University of New England in a non-conference men's hockey game at Harold Alfond Forum on Friday night.
UNE scored the lone goal of the first period in a back-and-forth game. Stevens and freshman Simon Besner (North Lancaster, Ont.) gave the Panthers a 2-1 lead before the hosts notched a short-handed tally in the second period, and each team scored once in the third ahead of a scoreless overtime.
Plymouth State moves to 8-1-2 on the year after playing for the first time in 29 days, while the Nor'Easters move to 8-4-1.
The Final Score:
Plymouth State 3, #11/#12 UNE 3 (OT)
Plymouth State (8-1-2)
#11/#12 UNE (8-4-1)
How it Happened:
* UNE got on the board just 2:26 into play when sophomore Brett Mecrones (Medford, Mass.) took the puck from the right corner along the goal line before stuffing it past senior Evan Morelli (Reading, Mass.).
* The Panthers tied the game at the 5:35 mark of the second period. Senior Cam Cundy (Portsmouth, N.H.) fed Stevens as the pair skated into the offensive zone on a two-on-one break. Stevens carried the puck into the right circle before whipping a wrist shot through sophomore Ben Churchfield (Newcastle, England).
* PSU pulled in front just 44 seconds later. Senior Ludvig Steenberg (Stockholm, Sweden) skated into the offensive zone on the left side, then centered to Besner who fired a one-timer past Churchfield for his first goal as a Panther.
* The Nor'easters tied the game with a short-handed goal midway through the second when a Panther defender was unable to hold the puck in at the blue line. Sophomore Brendan Donohue (New Hope, Pa.) skated down the left side before feeding classmate Jason Harmon (Limington, Maine) for his first goal of the year.
* Plymouth went back up with a power play tally 2:15 into the third period. Stevens blasted a low-angle shot from the right side and Covach was able to chop the rebound into the open net on the far side for a 3-2 lead.
* UNE pulled even five minutes later when Mecrones stole the puck in the offensive zone and lifted a shot to the top left corner.
* Both teams had prime scoring chances in the overtime period, but both Morelli and Churchfield stood tall.
Inside the Numbers:
* The teams have now split four meetings. This was the first ever game between the two teams away from Hanaway Rink.
* With his two points Stevens is now just two points shy of the 100-point plateau for his career.
* Morelli finished with 41 saves to move to 7-1-2 on the year, while Churchfield turned aside 31 shots to go to 6-4-1.
* Besner's goal was the first of his career.
* PSU finished 1-for-5 on the power play, while the Nor'easters went 0-for-4 with the man advantage.
Straight from the Coach's Mouth:
"They were much more in sync that we were early on," said head coach Craig Russell. "We had to get through the first period after the long layover. Once we settled into the game we were good. Evan [Morelli] played great and made some incredible saves on grade A scoring chances they had. I'm not satisfied with a tie, but when it's the first game back against a team who's already played a couple I'll take it.
* The Panthers are right back in action on Saturday (Jan. 5). PSU will look to extend its Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) unbeaten streak to seven games when it travels to Worcester State for a 6:50 p.m. tilt.
* UNE is off until next Friday (Jan. 11) when the Nor'easters visit Buffalo State at 7:00 p.m.
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