WINCHENDON, Mass. (December 5, 2018) – The Franklin Pierce University men's ice hockey team found itself shorthanded eight times on Wednesday night, and it proved to be too much at the Jason Ritchie Ice Arena. Massachusetts Dartmouth converted two power-play goals, including the game-winner, to break a 3-3 tie late in the third, as the Corsairs picked up a 5-3 road win over the Ravens in non-conference play. Senior forward Brendan McDonough and senior forward Jonathan Ruiz had a goal and an assist each in the win for UMass Dartmouth, while junior forward Alex Lester (Methuen, Mass.) did the same in defeat for Franklin Pierce.
With the loss, Franklin Pierce falls to 5-6-0, while UMass Dartmouth improves to 5-6-0.
Franklin Pierce put home a pair of goals in the final four minutes of the first period to jump out to a 2-0 lead at the first intermission. The opening tally came at the 16:20 mark, after junior forward Matthew Toombs (Pleasanton, Calif.) and junior defenseman Sean Munzing (Beverly, Mass.) combined to run a UMass Dartmouth puck carrier off the puck in the neutral zone. Sophomore forward Justin Blanchette (Monroe, Conn.) swooped in, took the puck the other way on a partial breakaway and snapped home his second of the season from the top of the left circle.
Just over three minutes later, at 19:34, the Ravens cashed in directly off a faceoff in the right-wing circle. Lester won the draw cleanly to junior forward James Morrissey (West Haven, Conn.) in the high slot. Morrissey had the one-time finish from there for his fourth goal of the campaign.
UMass Dartmouth had the only goal of the second period to cut the deficit in half. It was a power-play tally at the 11:37 mark, as sophomore forward Kai Kapossy capped off a tic-tac-toe passing play. From the middle of the blue line, sophomore defenseman Nicholas Short sent the puck into the left circle for freshman forward Jimmy Pelton. Pelton went quickly against the grain and sent a pass into the right circle for Kapossy, who put a one-timer to the back of the net for his second goal of the year.
The two teams then combined for five third-period goals, four of which would go to UMass Dartmouth. The Corsairs evened things at 2-2 with a delayed-penalty goal at 4:29. Junior defenseman David Skarbek started the breakout from his own end and got the puck to Pelton, who took it through the neutral zone. Pelton eventually fed McDonough, who powered to the goal on the left-wing side and flipped home his team-leading eighth goal of the year at the bottom of the circle.
The Ravens briefly reclaimed the lead at 3-2 at the 7:19 mark. Lester deflected a pass in his own end, which enabled freshman forward Anthony Nikolopoulos (Burlington, Mass.) to take possession. Nikolopoulos returned the puck to Lester in the neutral zone, and the latter turned it into a highlight-reel goal from there. He put the puck between the legs of the last defender, tracked it down on the other side with just the goaltender to beat and did just that on the right side to cash in his fourth goal of the year.
The lead was short-lived though, as UMass Dartmouth made it a 3-3 game at 8:12. Senior defenseman Hunter Wilhoite flipped the puck the length of the ice, and then senior forward Connor Court beat out the icing call in the right-wing corner. He got the puck to junior forward Cameron Mack, who went behind the net, came out the other side and finished off his first of the season from the left circle.
The Corsairs took the lead for good with their second power-play marker of the night at 16:15, which would stand as the game-winner. On the left side, Ruiz sent the puck down low to McDonough, who sent it behind the net to sophomore forward Eric Bolden in the right-wing corner. Bolden took a shot from a sharp angle, which banked off the pads of Franklin Pierce freshman goaltender Kyle Martin (Westford, Mass.) and into the net for Bolden's sixth of the year.
UMass Dartmouth created the 5-3 final with an empty-net tally at 19:15. Ruiz forced a turnover just outside the offensive blue line on the right-wing side and immediately sent the puck ahead into the yawning cage for his seventh of the season.
Martin (1-1-0) finished with 32 saves against 36 shots on goal and suffered the loss in net for Franklin Pierce. Freshman goaltender Chris Stangarone (1-0-0) made his collegiate debut at the other end of the ice and stopped 16 of 19 shots to pick up the win for UMass Dartmouth.
The game marked the final contest before the semester break for the Ravens, who will return to the ice on Friday, Jan. 4, when they travel to Western New England for a non-conference affair. Game time is set for 1 p.m. at Olympia Ice Center in West Springfield, 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).