WORCESTER, Mass. (November 30, 2019) – With the first major snowstorm of the season bearing down on the region, it was a blizzard of goals in the first period for the Franklin Pierce University men's ice hockey team in the Worcester Ice Center on Saturday afternoon. Sophomore forward Ryan Gorbett (Cleveland Heights, Ohio) dished out four assists and tallied five points -- both of which matched program single-game records -- and sophomore forward Anthony Nikolopoulos (Burlington, Mass.) scored twice as the Ravens rolled to a 7-2, non-conference win at Becker. The game was the first contest of the annual Steve Hoar Memorial Invitational, held in honor of the former Becker head coach.
With the win, Franklin Pierce improves to 6-2-1, extends its program-record unbeaten streak to seven games (6-0-1) and matches a program high-water mark with five wins in a row. With the loss, Becker falls to 2-7-0.
Both teams will play again on Sunday at the Hoar Invitational, with opponents and game times to be determined after the conclusion of Saturday's second game, which features Suffolk and Wilkes. Franklin Pierce will play in the tournament's championship game, while Becker will play in the consolation contest.
Gorbett become the seventh player in program history to tally five points in a game, and the first since Jonathan Haun '18 did so at Post on Feb. 1, 2017. Gorbett also became just the fifth player in program history to dish out four assists in a single game, though the last to do so was just last season, when then-junior Alex Lester (Methuen, Mass.) notched four helpers against Anna Maria on Oct. 30, 2018.
It was a five-goal blitzkrieg out of the gate in the first period for the Ravens on Saturday. Nikolopoulos opened the scoring just 86 seconds in, as he danced around the sprawled body of Becker senior goaltender Grant Martens and salted away a rebound for his first goal of the season.
Less than two minutes later, at the 3:19 mark, the Ravens made it 2-0, after junior forward Justin Blanchette (Monroe, Conn.) started a scoring play on the right-wing side. He centered the puck for Gorbett, whose shot from the top of the crease appeared to find the back of the net. However, the referee on the scene said the puck did not cross the goal line and play continued. Freshman forward Conor Foley (Nahant, Mass.) made the point moot immediately, as he jammed the loose puck home to take all doubt of it and claim his third goal of the season.
Gorbett would officially get one of his own less than three minutes later, at 6:06, which would stand as the game-winning goal. Foley took control on the right-wing side and walked the puck out front, but was turned aside by Martens. Gorbett finished off the rebound at the right post for his fourth goal of the campaign.
A pair of power-play goals pushed the lead all the way out to 5-0 before the first intermission. First, Lester slipped a centering pass out front from the right-wing corner to find Gorbett crashing the net. Gorbett's one-time attempt was stopped, but sophomore forward Chris Stevenson (Arvada, Colo.) cleaned up the rebound at 9:46 for his fourth of the year. The fourth Franklin Pierce goal in the opening 10 minutes chased Martens from the Becker net, in favor of senior Cody Foster, who went the rest of the way.
Gorbett would pick up his fourth point of the opening frame at 12:52, after he send the puck from the left side, out to senior defenseman Mark Indelicato (Pembroke, Mass.) at the middle of the blue line. Indelicato took a shot from there which was tipped home at the top of the crease by senior forward James Morrissey (West Haven, Conn.) for his fourth goal of the year.
The rest of the action was largely academic after the five-goal first. Becker got on the board with a power-play marker at 2:13 of the second, as junior forward Romain Wild had the one-time finish on the right side off a tic-tac-toe passing play for his fifth goal of the year. Nikolopoulos knocked home his second of the day at the left post at 5:53, as Franklin Pierce reclaimed the five-goal lead. The Ravens would take a 6-1 lead into the second intermission, after senior forward Kyle Gosselin (Haverhill, Mass.) provided a one-time finish at the left post at 16:36, while Gorbett picked up his fourth assist and capped his five-point afternoon.
Becker got the only goal of the third period, at the 8:30 mark, as sophomore forward Tim Atkins put home his first goal of the season.
Sophomore goaltender Kyle Martin (Westford, Mass.) tallied 14 saves in each of the first two periods on the way to a 34-save performance against 36 shots to pick up the win (4-0-0). Martens (0-4-0) surrendered four goals on just 11 shots over the opening 9:46 and suffered the loss for Becker. Foster made 31 saves against 34 shots the rest of the way.
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).