WINCHENDON, Mass. (October 30, 2018) – It was an apple a period to keep the doctor away on Tuesday night for junior forward Alex Lester (Methuen, Mass.) of the Franklin Pierce University men's ice hockey team. Lester dished out four assists on the night – one in the first, one in the second and two in the third – to lead the Ravens to a 5-2 victory in their home opener at the Jason Ritchie Ice Arena. Franklin Pierce got goals from five different players, including a pair who notched their first collegiate tallies, in the non-conference win.
With the win, Franklin Pierce improves to 1-1-0, while Anna Maria falls to 0-2-0. The 2018-19 season marks Anna Maria's inaugural campaign.
The Ravens put home the only two goals of the first period to take a lead they would never relinquish on Tuesday night. The opening salvo came at the 8:15 mark, in a 4-on-4 situation. Freshman forward Sean Crowley (Sandown, N.H.) was able to bang home his first collegiate goal from the top of the crease, while senior defenseman Blaise Kilroy (Spring City, Pa.) and junior defenseman Mark Indelicato (Pembroke, Mass.) picked up the assists.
Another first career tally came at 16:51, when freshman forward Anthony Nikolopoulos (Burlington, Mass.) put a rebound home from the bottom of the left-wing circle. Indelicato picked up his second helper of the period, while Lester chalked up the first of his four assists on the night. The four-point night would wind up as a career-best for Lester.
Anna Maria cut the deficit in half just 70 seconds into the middle stanza. Freshman forward Jack Sitzman notched his first collegiate goal, as he snapped a shot over the goaltender's glove hand from the top of the left circle. Freshman forward Sam Cyr-Ledoux and freshman defenseman David Pfoestl provided the assists on the play.
The Ravens would regain the two-goal lead before the period closed, as they struck on a two-man advantage at the 18:05 mark. With the puck along the right-wing half boards, junior forward Cameron Shepardson (Albany, N.Y.) stepped out into the circle and sent a centering pass into the middle. The puck ticked off the heel of Lester's stick and continued on to junior forward James Morrissey (West Haven, Conn.) at the bottom of the left-wing circle. Morrissey had the finish from there, for his first goal of the season.
Franklin Pierce pushed the lead out to 4-1 just 63 seconds into the third period. The initial shot on the play came courtesy of senior forward Nate Indelicato (Pembroke, Mass.), who was stymied from the right circle. Lester had the follow-up opportunity from the slot, but was turned aside as well, by Anna Maria freshman goaltender Mark Siegel. The third time was the charm for the Ravens, as Kilroy put away the ensuing rebound for his first goal of the year.
Anna Maria struck on a two-man advantage at 12:39 to make it a two-goal game again, with a tic-tac-toe passing play. From the right point, freshman forward Kevin Kaufman sent the puck to the bottom of the right circle for Sitzman. Sitzman immediately centered for freshman forward Nick Kukuris, who sent a quick wrist shot into the left side of the net for his first career goal.
The Ravens created the 5-2 final with a power-play marker at 18:54, with some nifty passing of their own. From the right circle, Shepardson started things by slinging a pass across the slot, to Lester in the left-wing circle. Lester immediately went back against the grain, and found Nate Indelicato at the bottom of the right circle to set up the latter's first goal of the season. Lester became just the fourth player in program history to record four assists in a single game.
Sophomore goaltender Ian Wallace (West Islip, N.Y.) finished with 34 saves against 36 shots on goal to pick up the win (1-1-0) in the crease for Franklin Pierce. Siegel (0-1-0) stopped just 19 of 24 shots and suffered the loss for Anna Maria.
The Ravens return to the ice on Friday, Nov. 2, when they travel to Worcester State for a non-conference contest. Opening faceoff is set for 4:40 p.m. at Fidelity Bank Worcester Ice Center in Worcester, Massachusetts.
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.facebook.com/FranklinPierceRavens), its YouTube channel (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).