Stevens tallies three points as Panthers increase MASCAC lead
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Senior Ryan Stevens (Colleyville, Texas) recorded three points and four different players found the back of the net as Plymouth State University defeated the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, 4-2, in a key Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) men's ice hockey game at Hanaway Rink on Thursday night.
A match-up of the top two teams in the league got off to a slow start. Despite PSU outshooting the Corsairs by a 20-7 margin in the opening period the game remained scoreless. Junior Victor Bergstrom (Angelholm, Sweden) broke the tie when he redirected a shot past UMD sophomore goalie Parker Butler (Summit, N.J.) just 1:04 into the second period.
Senior Matt Volonnino (Hackettstown, N.J.) added a short-handed tally ten minutes later, but the Corsairs struck to pull within one heading into the third period.
Sophomore Jake Gerbner (Havertown, Pa.) restored the two-goal advantage at the 5:49 mark of the third, and Stevens gave PSU a commanding 4-1 lead with just 4:05 left to play. UMD got one back during a 6-on-3 in the final minute, but the Panthers held on increase their MASCAC lead to three points.
With the win Plymouth State improves to 13-6-3 and 10-3-2 in the MASCAC, while stopping UMass Dartmouth's five-game winning streak. The Corsairs now sit at 13-9-1 and 9-5-1 in league play.
The Final Score:
Plymouth State 4, UMass Dartmouth 2
Plymouth State (13-6-3, 10-3-2 MASCAC)
UMass Dartmouth (12-9-1, 9-5-1 MASCAC)
How it Happened:
* Plymouth State had a couple of opportunities on an early power play in the first period, but could not find the back of the net after several scrums in the crease.
* Despite the Panthers holding a 20-7 advantage in first period shots the game went into the intermission scoreless.
* PSU struck early in the second period off a blast slap shot from the blue line by Stevens that Bergstrom deflected past Butler.
* A couple of Panthers' penalties gave UMass Dartmouth a 5-on-3 power play, but the PSU penalty kill put in heavy work blocking shots to kill off both penalties.
* The Panthers added another goal on a rocket wrist shot over Butler's blocker by Volonnino from the near side face-off circle at 11:04.
* UMass Dartmouth got on the board at the 13:23 mark when senior Brendan McDonough (Wilmington, Mass.) skated to the crease and posted up on senior goaltender Evan Morelli (Reading, Mass.) before throwing a backhand pass to junior Cameron Mack (Long Beach, Calif.) for the tap in.
* Plymouth State got some breathing room at 5:49 of the third period after freshman Simon Besner (North Lancaster, Ont.) took a wrist shot from the point. Butler made the initial save but could not corral the puck, as Gerbner chipped in the rebound from just outside the crease.
* Things got chippy towards the end as some post-whistle antics left both sides down two men. PSU capitalized during the 3-on-3 as Stevens was denied on his first shot, but found the back of the net on his second attempt from just outside the crease at 14:55.
* The Corsairs picked up a goal at 19:25 after a barrage of shots during a 6-on-3 to account for the final score.
Inside the Numbers:
* Plymouth State now holds a three-point lead over UMass Dartmouth and Westfield State for the top spot in the conference.
* The Corsairs entered the contest riding a five-game winning streak, going 7-1-1 over their last nine games.
* PSU outshot the visitors by a 43-27 margin.
* Morelli stopped 25 shots for PSU to improve to 11-5-3, while Butler made 39 saves but fell to 6-6-1.
* Plymouth State went 0-for-3 on the power play, while UMD finished 1-for-6.
Straight from the Coach's Mouth:
"Our penalty kill was really good tonight," said head coach Craig Russell. "I thought we played a really focused game and executed our game play the way we wanted to once we settled in. The start of the second period set the tone for us. It was great to see Victor [Bergstrom] get on the score sheet after being out, and Jake [Gerbner] played a great game. He was all over the place for us, so it was nice for him to be rewarded with a goal."
* The Panthers head to Salem State for another league game on Saturday (Feb. 9) with puck-drop set for 2:00 p.m.
* UMass Dartmouth is also back in action on Saturday (Feb. 9), facing Westfield State on the road at 5:35 p.m.
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