Fitchburg State's Early Lead Holds over Ice Hockey, 6-3

Fitchburg State's Early Lead Holds over Ice Hockey, 6-3

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. – Fitchburg State unloaded the first four goals of the contest on Thursday evening, breaking away from UMass Dartmouth early as the Falcons secured a 6-3 MASCAC victory at Hetland Arena.

Senior John Celli (Leominster, Mass.) scored his ninth and tenth goals of the season on the contest, the Falcons' third and fifth scores of the night to help hold off the Corsairs.

For the Corsairs, sophomore Casey Shea (Woburn, Mass.) registered his sixth-straight game with at least one point, as he has tallied 10 total points during that streak.

It took Fitchburg State nearly all of the first 20 minutes to get on the board, as junior Jon Johannesson (Red Lake, Ont.) scored with only one second left on the clock, immediately one-timing the pass from senior Nat Rojas (Elkridge, Md.) past the stick side of UMass Dartmouth goalie Tommy Bay (Duluth, Ga.).

Exiting the first intermission, the Falcons then unleased a flurry of goals over the course of less than three minutes beginning at 10:35. Rojas again assisted, passing to Johannesson who found sophomore James Gordon (Hingham, Mass.) for the first goal of the period.

Celli buried his first goal of the night at 12:28, followed less than 90 seconds later by another Falcon score. Freshman Mike Fretz (Seattle, Wash.) earned his ninth goal of the season, beating Bay on assists from Nick DiNicola (Wolcott, Conn.) and Ricky Kramer (Strafford, N.H.).

Shea closed out the second period, putting the Corsairs on the board with less than a minute remaining. Junior Mike Kelly (Stoneham, Mass.) carried the puck into the offensive zone, passing back to sophomore Jerry Laakso (Tampere, Finland) who found Shea for the tip over goalie Charles Jakobsson (Jonkoping, Sweden).

Celli and Rojas put the visitors even further out of reach to begin the third period, with Rojas converting a short-handed goal after intercepting the UMass Dartmouth pass to flip the puck over Bay's shoulder.

UMass Dartmouth gained two back to close the night, with Kelly scoring a power play goal at the 11:40 mark on assists from Laakso and Matt Baldino (Woburn, Mass.).

At 17:42, sophomore Brandon Berkley (Scottsdale, Ariz.) tipped the Shea cross past Jakobsson to cut the lead in half, but the Falcons' advantage remained intact.

With the loss, UMass Dartmouth slips to 5-9-3 with a 4-5-2 record in MASCAC play. Fitchburg State rises to 8-10-1 overall and 5-7-1 in the league. The hosts went 1-5 on the power play on the night, while the Falcons converted on one of their two man-advantage chances.

Bay earned his first decision of the season, making 33 saves including 15 in the first period, while Jakobsson turned aside 25 shots.

UMass Dartmouth closes out the month of January on Saturday, hosting Framingham State for another MASCAC matchup, while Fitchburg State will sit out the weekend before meeting the Rams on Feb. 4.