Panthers win second straight OT game behind Longaker's game-winner
FITCHBURG, Mass. – Junior Drake Longaker (Gilroy, Calif.) tallied the game-winning goal 2:58 seconds into overtime as Plymouth State University held off Fitchburg State University, 4-3, in a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) men's ice hockey game at the Wallace Civic Center on Saturday night.
PSU built a 3-0 lead through the first 23 minutes of play behind goals from freshman Grant Dewitt (Bowling Green, Ohio) and seniors Michael Covach (Shillington, Pa.) and Quinn Carroll (Amherst, N.H.), but the Falcons rallied with a pair of power play goals to pull within 3-2 at the second intermission.
Fitchburg State pulled even early in the third period and the Panthers found themselves in overtime for the second straight contest. Longaker collected a feed from senior Ryan Stevens (Colleyville, Texas) at the left circle and snapped off a wrist shot over the right shoulder of the FSU goaltender to secure the win.
Plymouth State improves to 12-6-3 and 9-3-2 in the MASCAC, while Fitchburg State drops its fourth straight game to fall to 9-10-2 and 6-6-2 in league play.
The Final Score:
Plymouth State 4, Fitchburg State 3 (OT)
Plymouth State (12-6-3, 9-3-2 MASCAC)
Fitchburg State (9-10-2, 6-6-2 MASCAC)
How it Happened:
* PSU came out aggressive, firing 19 shots in the first period to build a 2-0 lead. Dewitt opened the scoring when he redirected a shot from freshman Ben Chipman (North Vancouver, B.C.) from the blue line that was initially waved off. After the officials conferred for nearly a full minute, the goal was confirmed and PSU led 1-0 after the first 7:27.
* Covach doubled the lead with a power play goal, his 10th of the season, late in the period. Senior Matt Volonnino (Hackettstown, N.J.) made a move around a defender, then whipped a wrist shot that sophomore Brian McGrath (Worcester, Mass.) kicked aside, but Covach was there to clean up the rebound with just 22 seconds left in the period.
* Carroll made it 3-0 just 2:52 into the second period when he skated in along the nearside and snuck a wrister between McGrath's legs.
* The Falcons rallied as junior Christopher Vicario (Cranston, R.I.) put home a rebound on the power play at the 8:02 mark, then sophomore Sascha Figi (Kloten, Switzerland) added a power play score of his own with 1:32 left in the period to make it 3-2 heading to the second intermission.
* Fitchburg completed the comeback just four minutes into the third period when senior Michael Fretz (Seattle, Wash.) fired a wrist shot top shelf after flying down the left wing.
* PSU grabbed the win on Longaker's fourth of the year midway through the overtime period during a four-on-four. Stevens carried the puck along the blue line before feeding Longaker, all alone at the left circle, who beat McGrath to the top left corner.
Inside the Numbers:
* The two teams went 1-1-1 against each other this season, with two overtime contests and a pair of one-goal games.
* Senior Evan Morelli (Reading, Mass.) made 32 saves to pick up his tenth win of the year (10-5-3), while McGrath dropped to 9-7-2 despite making 45 stops.
* The Panthers outshot FSU by a 49-35 margin.
* PSU went 1-for-7 on the power play, while the Falcons cashed in on 2-of-7 man-advantage opportunities.
Straight from the Coach's Mouth:
"We started the game really well and executed our game plan," said head coach Craig Russell. "We got away from it in the second period and the results of that showed. It was good to see the guys regroup in the third and OT. Ryan [Stevens] made a great play to Drake [Longaker] for the game-winner and Drake located his shot perfectly."
* Plymouth State hosts the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth on Thursday (Feb. 7) for a 6:00 p.m. contest. PSU own a one-point lead over the Corsairs for the top spot in the MASCAC.
* The Falcons welcome Framingham State to town on Tuesday (Feb. 5) with puck-drop set for 6:30 p.m.
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