Panthers secure third straight regular season MASCAC title
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Seniors Matt Volonnino (Hackettstown, N.J.) and Ryan Stevens (Colleyville, Texas) each notched a goal and an assist as Plymouth State University defeated Framingham State University, 5-2, in a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) men's ice hockey game on Senior Night at Hanaway Rink Saturday evening.
With its fifth straight win, Plymouth State secures its third consecutive regular season title and the top seed for the upcoming MASCAC Tournament. PSU has captured the regular season seven of the last eight years.
Stevens put the Panthers ahead in the first period after he redirected a shot from Volonnino. PSU picked up two quick goals in the first 3:16 of the second, including a strike by sophomore Peter Laviolette (Nashville, Tenn.) and a short-hander by Volonnino.
Framingham State battled back in the third period to cut the Panthers' lead to one, 3-2, with 6:48 remaining, but sophomore Brett Backman (Cos Cob, Conn.) struck to push the lead back to two, and freshman Grant Dewitt (Bowling Green, Ohio) added an insurance marker to round out the scoring.
Prior to the game Plymouth State held a ceremony to recognize the nine seniors playing in their final regular season game at Hanaway Rink. In addition to Volonnino and Stevens, classmates Michael Covach (Shillington, Pa.), Ludvig Steenberg (Stockholm, Sweden), Quinn Carroll (Amherst, N.H.), Tim Perron (Northborough, Mass.), Cam Cundy (Portsmouth, N.H.), Nic LeFave (Hudson, N.H.) and Evan Morelli (Reading, Mass.) were honored for their contributions to the program.
Plymouth State improves to 15-6-3 overall and 12-3-2 in MASCAC play, while Framingham State falls to 2-20-1 and 0-15-1 in league play.
The Final Score:
Plymouth State 5, Framingham State 2
Plymouth State (15-6-3, 12-3-2 MASCAC)
Framingham State (2-20-1, 0-15-1 MASCAC)
How it Happened:
* PSU took the lead at the 7:31 mark when Volonnino cycled along the blue line and threw a wrist shot on goal that Stevens tipped into the back of the net.
* Laviolette lit the lamp just 1:58 into the second after he sped along the far side into the zone and cut across the net, poking a diving backhanded shot past the left pad of Framingham State goaltender Greg Harney (East Haven, Conn.).
* The Panthers padded their lead on a short-handed goal by Volonnino just 1:18 later off a wrist shot on a partial breakaway.
* Framingham State picked up a power play goal in the third at 6:53 on a pass threaded through the slot that sophomore Michael Gennello (East Windsor, N.J.) put in from the far side post.
* The Rams pulled within one at 13:12 off a slap shot from the far side face-off circle by sophomore Walker Hamilton (Anchorage, Alaska).
* Backman gave the Panthers some breathing room at 14:54 when he went backdoor into the slot to finish a feed from behind the net.
* Dewitt closed out the scoring at 16:31 with a wrist shot off a hard rebound that had kicked back into the slot.
Inside the Numbers:
* Plymouth State outshot the Rams by a 45-25 margin.
* Morelli had 23 saves, including 13 in the final period, to improve to 13-5-3, while Harney stopped 40 shots but dropped to 1-11-0.
* PSU was held scoreless in five power play chances, while the Rams finished 1-of-7 with the skater advantage.
Straight from the Coach's Mouth:
"I thought we were a little out of sync early after not playing for a week," said head coach Craig Russell. "I felt like the shorthanded goal from Matt [Volonnino] took some tension away. We kept trying to our lines into a rhythm, but the penalties didn't allow for that so we had to fight through it a bit. We got some goals and plays when we needed them. We're excited for the regular season title because we feel like we get a good home-ice advantage, but we have bigger goals."
* PSU wraps up the regular season at Westfield State on Tuesday (Feb. 19) at 7:35 p.m.
* The Rams host Salem State on Tuesday (Feb. 19) at 7:40 p.m.
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