FITCHBURG, Mass. – Freshman Kyle Hillick and sophomore Michael Fretz each potted a pair of goals as Fitchburg State University erased an early two goal deficit to down UMass-Dartmouth, 7-3 in Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) action at the Wallace Civic Center this evening. The win halts a four game skid for the Falcons, as they improve to 8-9-1 overall and 5-6-1 in conference play, while the Corsairs dip to 10-7 (6-5 MASCAC) on the season.
Fitchburg State, despite having the shot advantage 12-9 in the first period, trailed 2-0 after 20 minutes of play. UMass-Darmouth senior Mike Kelly scored both of UMD's goals. The opening tally at the 5:25 mark and a short-handed score at 14:27 when he finished a two-on-one breakaway with teammate Matt Baldino. Fitchburg State had the man-advantage twice in the stanza but couldn't convert either opportunity.
The Falcons began to tighten up their defense immediately as the second period began. The increased intensity and ferocity was evident early in the second, as Fitchburg State freshman Christopher Vicario fired a one-timer topshelf past Corsairs' junior goaltender Drew Michals with linemates Mike Fish and Corey Hayashi recording assist. An offensive zone faceoff by Fitchburg State's Dean Zerby exactly 20 seconds after was placed short-side by Hillick to even the game at 2-2. As the shot counter rose so did the physical play, as three Dartmouth penalties and one Fitchburg penalty led to another goal by both teams; UMD freshman Steven Leonard fired a wrist shot by Fitchburg State sophomore goalie Kirby Saari's glove while Fretz tapped in a hard drive by Tyler Warila to tie the game back up for the Falcons.
All square heading into the third, the Falcons grabbed their first lead of the contest with just under twelve minutes remaining the frame when senior captain Cameron Synder tipped the twine from his knees in front of the Corsairs crease. The Green and Gold dominated play from here on out. Junior James Gordon collected his team-leading eighth goal of the season four and a half minutes later with an unassisted marker, while Hillicka and Fretz added insurance goals to round out the scoring and solidified the victory.
Throughout the contest, Fitchburg State held a 40-25 advantage in shots, while the Corsairs finished 0-for-3 on the power play. In net, Saari recorded 22 saves for the Falcons in the complete game effort, while Drew Michaels posted 29 stops in 54 minutes of action for UMass-Dartmouth in the setback.
Fitchburg State returns to action on Sunday as it travels to Colby for a matchup starting at 3:00 p.m. UMass Dartmouth will visit Framingham State on Saturday at 2:40 p.m.
Release courtesy of The Falcon Report – Christopher Dunne