WINCHENDON, Mass. (February 12, 2019) – For the first time in the program's 17-year history, the Franklin Pierce University men's ice hockey team has reached double digits in wins. The Ravens reached the team record in style on Tuesday afternoon, as senior forward Nate Indelicato (Pembroke, Mass.) put home all three Franklin Pierce goals to post a natural hat trick and lead the way in a 3-1 win over Stonehill in Northeast-10 Conference play at the Jason Ritchie Ice Arena. Junior forward Alex Lester (Methuen, Mass.) assisted on all three goals, while younger brother and junior defenseman Mark Indelicato (Pembroke, Mass.) had a pair of helpers.
With the win, Franklin Pierce improves to 10-13-1 (5-7-1 NE10), while Stonehill falls to 8-15-1 (3-11-1 NE10). The Ravens had previously won nine games in a season on two occasions, 2012-13 and 2016-17, and were able to finally break through to double digits under second-year head coach Shaun Millerick.
Meanwhile, Lester's three assists gave him 19 for the season, which tied a different program record. Lester is the fourth player in team history to tally 19 helpers in a year, joining Anthony Chighisola, Roscoe Sweeney and Joe Fields.
The Ravens have two regular-season games remaining, as they will host Saint Michael's in a two-game, NE10 weekend series on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 15-16. Franklin Pierce needs to win both games against the Purple Knights to claim the fourth and final spot in the NE10 Championship and return to the postseason for the first time since 2013. Opening faceoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Saturday at Jason Ritchie Ice Arena.
On Tuesday, the first period went scoreless, and it would be Stonehill which opened the scoring at the 11:53 mark of the second frame. Senior defenseman Connor Collier had the initial shot on the play, from the middle of the right circle, which was saved by Franklin Pierce freshman goaltender Kyle Martin (Westford, Mass.). The rebound came back to the bottom of the right-wing circle for junior forward James Varney, who had his follow-up attempt saved as well. The third time was the charm for the Skyhawks though, as junior forward Jack Scannell banged home the next rebound at the right post.
Franklin Pierce would battle back before the middle stanza ended, beginning with a power-play tally at 14:52. From the middle of the blue line, Mark Indelicato sent the puck to the right side for Lester. Lester found a lane to slip a pass to Nate Indelicato at the top of the crease, and the latter deftly redirected the puck between the pads of Stonehill senior goaltender Kyle Paquette for his 10th goal of the season.
Just 87 seconds later, at 16:19, Nate Indelicato added a shorthanded tally to give Franklin Pierce the lead for good. Deep in his own end, Mark Indelicato helped push the puck up the boards to Lester, who took off down the right-wing side of the neutral zone and would lead a 2-on-1 into the offensive end as the Stonehill power play got caught deep. Meanwhile, Nate Indelicato joined the rush and crashed the left post, where he met a pass across the slot from Lester and knocked the puck home to post his second multiple-goal game of the season.
The Ravens added an important insurance marker at the 7:37 mark of the third period to create the 3-1 final. After taking possession in his own end, Lester elevated a pass into the neutral zone and got the puck to junior forward Cameron Shepardson (Albany, N.Y.) in the neutral zone. Shepardson left the puck for Nate Indelicato, who took it to the middle of the right circle and then picked the top-right corner, ringing the shot off the crossbar and in to cap his second career hat trick. He became the fifth Raven in program history to record multiple career hat tricks. It was the first hat trick by a Franklin Pierce player this season.
Martin (5-2-0) finished with 27 saves against 28 shots to pick up the win in the Franklin Pierce crease. Paquette (0-1-0) stopped 24 of 27 shots in a losing effort for Stonehill.
For more information on Franklin Pierce Athletics, please visit the official website of Franklin Pierce Athletics (https://www.fpuravens.com). Also be sure to follow the Ravens through the Department of Athletics' official Facebook page (http://www.youtube.com/franklinpiercesports) and its Twitter feed (http://twitter.com/FPUathletics). Fans wishing to purchase Franklin Pierce hockey apparel can do so at the Department of Athletics' online store (https://www.fpuravens.com/store).