Morelli makes 33 stops in setback
PORTSMOUTH, R.I. – Senior Evan Morelli (Reading, Mass.) made 33 saves, but Plymouth State University was nipped by Salve Regina University, 2-1, in a non-conference men's ice hockey game at the Portsmouth Abbey Ice Rink on Tuesday night.
The Seahawks, national finalists a year ago, took an early lead five minutes into the game, but Plymouth State tied the game nine minutes later when senior Ryan Stevens (Colleyville, Texas) scored on a penalty shot. The hosts notched the only goal of the second period and neither team was able to find the back of the net in the third.
With the setback the Panthers drop to 9-5-3, while Salve Regina improves to 11-5-2.
The Final Score:
Plymouth State 1, Salve Regina 2
Plymouth State (9-5-3)
Salve Regina (11-5-2)
How it Happened:
* Salve got on the board first at the 4:57 mark of the opening period. The Seahawks picked off a clear attempt along the nearside half boards. Sophomore Danny Philbrick (Rye, N.H.) fired a shot that deflected off a Panther skate to freshman Matthew Kidney (Leonardo, N.J.), whose wrist shot from the bottom of the right face-off circle snuck past Morelli to the far side.
* The Panthers pulled even with 6:08 remaining in the frame. Stevens got a breakaway opportunity during a penalty kill for a one-on-one with senior goaltender Blake Wojtala (Trenton, Mich.), but he was hooked by a Salve defender leading to a penalty shot. Stevens skated in along the right side, then made multiple moves as he cut to the left post before slipping a shot five hole to even the game.
* The Seahawks went back in front after tallying the lone goal of the middle frame. Sophomore John McLean (North Andover, Mass.) crossed over the blue line before working his way to the left side and snapping a shot to the top left corner at the 13:35 mark.
* SRU nearly put the game away with an empty net goal in the final seconds, but Laviolette blocked the shot and skated up ice for one last chance at the game-tying goal but his shot was deflected wide of the goal and time expired.
Inside the Numbers:
* Morelli eclipsed the 30-save mark for the sixth time, but dropped to 9-5-3 on the year.
* Wojtala finished with 12 saves to improve to 10-5-2.
* The Seahawks outshot PSU by a 35-13 margin.
* Neither side was able to capitalize on the power play as the teams combined to go 0-for-5 with the man advantage.
Straight from the Coach's Mouth:
"I thought we played well in the first, but had really poor puck management in the second which gave them a ton of momentum," said head coach Craig Russell. "I thought we regrouped well for the third but Wojtala shut the door on us a couple times when we had some chances. Ultimately we have to get better at creating offense and sustaining pressure as we move toward playoffs."
* PSU gets back into MASCAC play with a contest at Framingham State on Thursday (Jan. 24). Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m.
* The Seahawks battled Western New England University in a home-and-home weekend series starting on the road Friday (Jan. 25).
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