Panthers ride Barone's three points to comeback victory
SALEM, Mass. – Sophomore JR Barone (West Chester, Pa.) picked up three points, including two third period goals, as Plymouth State University slipped past Salem State University, 5-4, in a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) men's ice hockey game at Rockett Arena on Saturday afternoon.
Plymouth State got a goal from senior Michael Covach (Shillington, Pa.) to grab the game's first lead in the opening period. Salem State would battle back, though, scoring three unanswered goals to take a 3-1 lead early in the second period.
PSU would not go quietly, storming back with three straight goals of its own, starting with a power play strike by sophomore Jake Gerbner (Havertown, Pa.). His tally was followed by a goal from junior Alec LeFave (Hudson, N.H.) that evened the game heading into the second intermission.
Barone put the Panthers back in front early in the third. Though the Vikings tied the game shortly after, Barone scored again less than a minute later to regain the lead and the green-and-white held on for the win.
With its fourth straight win, Plymouth State improves to 14-6-3 on the year and 11-3-2 in MASCAC play. The Panthers hold a three point lead over Westfield State for the top spot in the conference. Salem State drops to 7-15-1 and 6-10-0 in league play.
The Final Score:
Plymouth State 5, Salem State 4
Plymouth State (14-6-3, 11-3-2 MASCAC)
Salem State (7-15-1, 6-10-0 MASCAC)
How it Happened:
* Plymouth State got on the board at the 3:42 mark in the first period when Covach posted up outside the crease and took a pass from the point, before turning and sliding a backhand shot around the goalie.
* Salem State got the game even at 8:01 when senior Connor Irving (Beverly, Mass.) snuck a quick backhand into the back of the net from the far side slot.
* The Vikings jumped ahead at 13:36 off a shot from the point that freshman Ryan Tierney (Methuen, Mass.) deflected short side.
* Junior Joe Smith (Holbrook, Mass.) added to the Vikings' lead just 2:22 into the second when he slid a wrist shot from the far side slot that slid through a screen and into the net.
* The Panthers got one back at 9:29 off a power play goal by Gerbner, who battled in front of the crease to put home a rebound on a forehand shot.
* PSU struck again just 1:03 later off a wrist shot from LeFave that slipped through traffic and went five-hole on the goaltender.
* A strong forecheck allowed Barone to regain the lead for the Panthers just 2:48 into the third period after he slipped a wrist shot around the goaltender from the near side slot.
* Salem State pulled even again at 5:40 when freshman Trevor Mallett (York, Maine) deflected a puck from his position just outside the crease.
* Barone would not be denied, though, as he took the lead back for good 38 seconds later off a deflection of his own from the slot.
Inside the Numbers:
* Barone has heated up of late, totaling five goals and five assists over his last seven games.
* Gerbner added an assist and has scored a goal in two straight games.
* Plymouth State held a 35-16 advantage in shots.
* Both teams' penalty kill units performed well, as PSU finished 1-of-6 on the power play, with Salem going 1-of-5.
* Senior Evan Morelli (Reading, Mass.) made 12 saves to improve to 12-5-3, while junior Sean Cleary (Barnstable, Mass.) stopped 30 shots and fell to 6-13-1.
* Plymouth State hosts Framingham State next Saturday (Feb. 16) for a Senior Day contest at 6:00 p.m.
* The Vikings welcome Fitchburg State to town on Thursday (Feb. 14) for a 7:00 p.m. clash.
– 30 –