FITCHBURG, Mass. – Dean Fuller picked up his 500th win at the helm of Fitchburg State ice hockey as his team had plenty of offense to defeat the visiting Ravens of Franklin Pierce, scoring their second-highest goal total of the season in the 6-2 victory at the Wallace Civic Center this eveing.
“500 is a nice number. It really is,” Fuller said with relief following his team’s third attempt at the 500 mark. “Now we can really focus on league play.”
Serving 32 seasons as the school’s coach, Fuller has enjoyed success at Fitchburg State, but not without a little help along the way,
“When you surround yourself with good players, a good staff, great things like this can happen,” he said.
The non-conference win against Franklin Pierce got the team their first win since November 14th, coming off a tie against UMass-Dartmouth in their last outing, but the Green and Gold were hungry to give their coach his 500th win.
Following a quick go-ahead goal by the visiting Ravens, the Green and Gold picked up their first goal as sophomore James Gordon took a wrister from uncontested ice, knotting us up at one apiece in the first five minutes of play.
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With 7:57 in the first period, the Falcons took their first lead of the game, as newcomer Nick DiNicola beat the goalie after a pair of feeds from seniors Max Lorenzen and Timmy Genova to take the slight 2-1 lead.
Forty seconds later the hosts lit the lamp again doubling their lead (3-1) when sophomore Corey Hayashi fired a shot from the left of the net minder, slipping the puck through an opening for his second marker of the season.
Five minutes into the second stanza, following consecutive Franklin Pierce penalties, the home team had a 5-on-3 advantage, when senior forward Nat Rojas received a pass from line mate Cam Synder, sending the puck past Etienne Roy in net for a commanding 4-1 lead.
The Green and Gold had their power play working all game because with 5:50 left in the second period Fitchburg State converted on another 5-on-3, this time Rojas faked a shot on net before opting to pass to the wide-open senior Ryan Connolly pushing the lead to four goals (5-1).
Franklin Pierce had work to do entering the third period of action, but got one back three minutes into the stanza on the power play, as sophomore Sean Gargin scored his fourth goal of the year and second of the contest to reduce the gap to three goals for the Ravens.
With Roy on the bench for the final minute, junior Mike Fish scored the final goal of the game with an empty-net with: 27 seconds remaining, giving us the final score of 6-2 and Fuller’s 500th career collegiate victory.
For the game, Franklin Pierce held a 40-37 advantage in shots, while the Falcons finished 2-for-8 with the man advantage. In goal, freshman Charles Jakobsson turned aside 38 shots for the Falcons in the complete game effort, while Roymade 27 saves for Franklin Pierce in 46:01 minutes of action.