WINCHENDON, Mass. (December 5, 2017) – The Franklin Pierce University men's ice hockey team broke a long scoreless skid on Tuesday night and led deep into the third period at the Jason Ritchie Ice Arena. However, the Ravens were unable to seal the deal, as a late penalty led to a late power-play goal for Southern New Hampshire, and the visiting Penmen forged a 2-2 tie in the Northeast-10 Conference contest.
With the tie, Franklin Pierce now stands at 2-8-1 (1-3-1 NE10), while Southern New Hampshire moves to 3-3-2 (2-2-1 NE10). Franklin Pierce snapped its losing streak at five games, but is now winless in its last six (0-5-1).
The two teams will meet twice more, in a home-and-home weekend series on Jan. 19-20. Franklin Pierce will travel to SNHU on Friday night, before the Penmen pay another visit to Winchendon on Saturday night.
SNHU -- which scored both of its goals on the power play -- opened the scoring just 4:26 into the proceedings, with Franklin Pierce senior forward Evan Marek (Enfield, Mass.) in the box serving an early slashing penalty. From the left-wing side of the goal, freshman forward Kyle Galloway backhanded a loose puck out to the right point for freshman defenseman Max Kent. Kent put a shot towards the net from there, which deflected off of senior forward Kyle Valliere in the slot and wound up in the back of the net, behind visibly-confused Franklin Pierce senior goaltender Tom McGuckin (Clayton, N.J.). It was Valliere's third goal of the season, and was the fourth goal allowed by Franklin Pierce's penalty kill in its last six opportunities.
The Ravens put home a pair of even-strength goals just 3:01 apart in the second period to strike for a 2-1 lead. First, sophomore forward Alex Lester (Methuen, Mass.) cut behind the net with the puck, moving from left wing to right wing. As he exited on the right-wing side of the cage, he flipped a pass out from for sophomore forward Cameron Shepardson (Albany, N.Y.), who buried a one-time finish from right on top of the crease. Shepardson's second goal of the season came at the 7:02 mark.
The goal snapped Franklin Pierce's scoring drought at 210:23. It was the first goal for the Ravens since a late third-period goal in a 4-3 loss at Westfield State on Nov. 21. Just a tick over three minutes later, the crimson and grey would strike again, this time for their first lead since the first period against Stonehill on Nov. 18.
Senior forward Blake Manginell (Troy, Mich.) won a battle for the puck behind the net and sent a pass out into the left-wing circle for freshman defenseman Paul Antkowiak (Salem, N.H.). Antkowiak took a shot from the faceoff dot and was denied by SNHU senior goaltender Ryan Slatky, but the latter could not hold the rebound. Freshman forward Christian Bastianelli (Newton, Mass.) was on the scene just outside the crease on the right side to pump home his first collegiate goal, at 10:03.
Franklin Pierce would have a golden opportunity to expand on the lead to start the third period. At the conclusion of the second period, SNHU sophomroe forward Jared Goudreau was given a major penalty for slew-footing and a game misconduct for a neutral-zone takedown of Lester behind the play. However, the Ravens came up empty on the five-minute power play on the fresh sheet of ice after the intermission, and managed just two shots over the course of the major.
Still, Franklin Pierce would hold the lead deep into the third period. At 14:11, Manginell would get caught in the wrong place at the wrong time as play changed direction, and he was tagged for an unlucky -- though wholly warranted -- kneeing penalty.
The Penmen would capitalize 44 seconds into the ensuing power play. Controlling the puck in the left-wing corner, senior forward Chris Moquin and sophomore forward Brett Strawn played catch for a few moments, before the latter cut behind the net. As he did so, Moquin dropped a pass behind him, back outside the right post, for the hard-charging Strawn. McGuckin had already bit on the potential wrap-around attempt by Moquin, and Strawn was able to bang home a one-time finish, at what was now the back door, to tie the game. Freshman forward Griffin Connor tacked on an assist as well on Moquin's team-leading sixth goal of the campaign, at 14:55.
Neither team could find another goal in the final 5:05 of the third period or through the five minutes of overtime, as each side left with a point for the tie.
McGuckin (1-6-1) finished with 31 saves against 33 shots on goal in the tie for Franklin Pierce. Slatky (2-3-2) stopped 26 of 28 shots at the other end of the ice for SNHU.
The Ravens return to the ice on Thursday, Dec. 7, when they travel to Massachusetts Dartmouth for a non-conference contest. Opening faceoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Hetland Arena in New Bedford, Mass.
For more information on Franklin Pierce Athletics, please visit the official website of Franklin Pierce Athletics (http://athletics.franklinpierce.edu). 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' online store (http://athletics.franklinpierce.edu/store).