WINCHENDON, Mass. (October 26, 2019) – The Franklin Pierce University men's ice hockey team hammered our 41 shots on Saturday afternoon, but was left with just one goal to show for it in an exhibition contest at Jason Ritchie Ice Arena. On the other side of the ledger, freshman forward Hunter Fortin struck twice for visiting Fitchburg State, as the Falcons dealt the Ravens a 4-1 loss in the bird-centric affair.
For both teams, the exhibition tilt served as a final tune-up before they open their respective regular seasons on Friday night.
The game was a bit of a stop-and-go affair throughout the afternoon, as the two teams combined for 18 penalties totaling 36 minutes. Franklin Pierce would finish 0-for-9 on the power play, despite generating 13 shots with the man-advantage. In all the Ravens held a 41-31 edge in shots in the contest.
A high-flying first period saw the teams combine for three goals and 27 shots, both of which were tilted in Fitchburg State's favor, 2-1 and 15-12, respectively. The Falcons opened the scoring at the 7:20 mark, after a shot from the left side by junior forward Joseph Miller was turned aside by Franklin Pierce sophomore goaltender Kyle Martin (Westford, Mass.). Freshman forward Adam Kusior was able to clean up the loose rebound at the right post though to get Fitchburg State on the board.
Franklin Pierce answered at the 10:45 mark. Senior forward Matthew Toombs (Pleasanton, Calif.) fired a shot from the top of the right circle, which Fitchburg State junior goaltender Brian McGrath made the initial save on. However, he left a rebound as well, as the puck kicked out into the bottom of the left circle for sophomore forward Sean Crowley (Sandown, N.H.), who did not miss from there.
Fitchburg State took the lead for good with a 4-on-3 power-play marker just 41 seconds later, at 11:26. Fortin was able to walk out into the slot from the left-wing side and put his shot into the top-left corner, while freshman forward Gene Bouthiette picked up the assist.
Bouthiette had the helper on Fortin's second goal of the game as well, which also came on the power play, at the 17-minute mark of the third period. Bouthiette's shot from the top of the right circle was blocked by the defense, but the puck ricocheted directly to Fortin in the left circle. The latter had a figuratively empty net to fire the puck into.
A literally empty net accounted for the final goal of the afternoon, as the Falcons made it 4-1 just before time expired. With the Franklin Pierce goaltender pulled for the extra attacker, junior forward Kevin Perry cleared the puck the length of the ice. Senior forward Dylan Zerby was able to race down the ice to collect the puck at the end boards and flipped it back out front, where freshman forward Rece Bergeman stuffed it into the goal just before the final horn sounded.
Martin logged the opening 30:05 in the Franklin Pierce net, made 17 saves against 19 shots and suffered the loss for the Ravens. Junior Ian Wallace (West Islip, N.Y.) went the rest of the way in the crease and stopped 10 of 11 shots.
McGrath piled up 40 saves against 41 shots to pick up the win for Fitchburg State.
The Ravens return to the ice on Friday, Nov. 1, when they host Suffolk in a non-conference contest to open the season. Opening faceoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Jason Ritchie Ice Arena.
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 ice hockey apparel can do so at the Department of Athletics' brand new online store (https://www.shopfpuravens.com).