Stevens picks up 99th career point in setback
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Senior Ryan Stevens (Colleyville, Texas) scored his sixth goal of the season for his 99th career point, but the Plymouth State University men's ice hockey team lost its third consecutive game, 2-1, in a tight Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) matchup with Fitchburg State University on Thursday night at Hanaway Rink.
Fitchburg State jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first period, but Stevens evened the game in the second period for the Panthers. The Falcons regained the lead on a power play goal in the third and managed to hang on for their seventh win of the season, despite being outshot 44-20.
With the loss, Plymouth State falls to 8-4-2 overall and 5-2-1 in the MASCAC. Fitchburg State improves to 7-5-2 and 4-2-2 in league play.
The Final Score:
Plymouth State 1, Fitchburg State 2
Plymouth State (8-4-2, 5-2-1 MASCAC)
Fitchburg State (7-5-2, 4-2-2 MASCAC)
How it Happened:
* Fitchburg State grabbed the lead 3:58 into the first period off a Plymouth State turnover that led to a two-on-one opportunity, with senior Nick DiNicola (Wolcott, Conn.) finding the back of the net on a shot that rang the post on its way in.
* Stevens tied the score at the 6:00 mark of the second when he took a feed from senior Michael Covach (Shillington, Pa.) and made a move around the goalie to his backhand for the goal.
* Covach got a chance of his own out front at the 9:00 mark but Fitchburg State sophomore Brian McGrath (Worcester, Mass.) tipped the shot away with his left pad to keep the score knotted at one.
* A power play goal at 10:41 in the third period gave the Falcons the lead for good as senior Ricky Kramer (Barnstead, N.H.) fired a shot from the far side slot past Plymouth State senior Evan Morelli (Reading, Mass.) for the game-winner.
Inside the Numbers:
* With the win, Fitchburg State evens the all-time series at 27-27-7 dating back to 1985, despite the Panthers having gone 18-4-4 since the start of the 2011-12 season.
* Plymouth State has dropped three straight regular season games for the first time since the 2013-14 season.
* PSU has outshot the Falcons by a 98-45 margin between the two meetings this season, but McGrath has limited the Panthers to just three goals.
* Fitchburg State went 1-for-7 on the power play with Plymouth State coming up empty on six chances.
* Morelli stopped 18 shots for PSU, while McGrath amassed 43 saves for the Falcons.
Straight from the Coach's Mouth:
"We're struggling to score goals right now," said head coach Craig Russell. "We don't have to be creative, we just have to be hard. We need controlled emotion – I think we've lacked that recently."
* The Panthers close out a stretch of five games in nine days with a MASCAC contest at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth on Saturday (Jan. 12). Puck-drop is set for 4:00 p.m.
* Fitchburg State hosts Wentworth for a non-conference game on Saturday (Jan. 12) at 4:00 p.m.
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