Men's Ice Hockey nipped by Falcons at Memorial Tournament


WORCESTER, Mass. --- The Becker College men's ice hockey team lost 5-2 to visiting Fitchburg State University on Saturday afternoon in the semifinals of the Second Annual Steve Hoar Memorial Tournament at the Fidelity Bank Worcester Ice Center in Worcester.

November 24, 2018
Fidelity Bank Worcester Ice Center, Worcester
Score: Fitchburg State 5, Becker 2
Records: Fitchburg State (3-3-2) | Becker (0-9-1)

• The Falcons wasted little time in getting on the board as a costly Becker turnover off a loose puck in their own zone led to a goal into the top right corner from Fitchburg junior forward Kyle Hillick (Byfield, Mass. / Hawkesbury Hawks) just 4:39 into the game, assisted by junior forward Dean Zerby (Harrisburg, Penn. / Philadelphia Revolution) and senior forward Ricky Kramer (Barnstead, N.H. / East Coast Wizards). It was the third goal of the season for Hillick as Fitchburg State went ahead 1-0.
• The Hawks found the equalizer with 10:19 remaining in the first period when senior forward Corey Schafer (Johnstown, Pa. / Missoula Maulers) found freshman forward James Perry (Atkinson, N.H. / Southern New Hampshire) trailing on his left side and, taking advantage of a tripped-up Falcons defenseman, the rookie shot it home into the upper-left corner for his second career goal. Becker had tied the game at 1-1.
• Shots for the first period were 14-12 in favor of the Falcons.

• Just seven seconds into the second period with the Falcons on a power play, the Hawks were caught napping when Fitchburg senior forward Nick DiNicola (Wolcott, Conn. / Springfield Jr. Pics) won the faceoff, then pushed it right up the middle before finding sophomore forward Sascha Figi (Kloten, Swtizerland / Atlanta Capitals) who shot it past the outstretched glove of the Becker goalie for his team-leading sixth goal of the season as the Falcons regained the lead at 2-1.
• Then with 17:21 remaining in the second, it was DiNicola again making things happen for Fitchburg State, as he took a pass from freshman defenseman Jordin Holmes (Willow Grove, Penn. / Philadelphia Rebels) and put it into the left corner of the net for his third goal of the season. The insurance goal put the Falcons ahead 3-1.
• Becker got one back with 14:58 to go when freshman forward Zachary Bettmeng (Sioux Falls, S.D. / Steele County Blades) gathered the puck at Fitchburg's blue line and took advantage of a lull in the defense as he took it in himself with a shot right between the goalie's legs to cut the deficit to 3-2. It was Bettmeng's team-leading fifth goal of the season.
• Shots for the second period were 16-11 in favor of the Falcons.

• With just over three minutes left, the Hawks, still trailing by one, pulled the goalie while on the power play. Fitchburg capitalized, as junior defenseman Joshua Suboyu (Bradley Beach, N.J. / Philadelphia Revolution) scored an empty-netter for the Falcons to put the Falcons up 4-2.
• With 6.6 seconds to go, Fitchburg scored another empty-netter, that coming from Hillick with an assist to DiNicola after a cluster in front of the net.
• Shots for the third period were 16-13 in favor of the Falcons.

• Becker junior goalkeeper Grant Martens (Bloomington, Minn. / Helena Bighorns) finished the day with 41 saves for the Hawks.
• Fitchburg State sophomore goalie Brian McGrath (Worcester, Mass. / Boston Jr. Bruins) finished the game with 34 saves between the pipes.
• Total Shots for the game were 46-36 in favor of the Falcons.
• Penalty-killing continues to be the Achilles' heel for the Hawks, as they surrendered the go-ahead goal in the second on a power play. The Falcons went 1-for-5 on power play opportunities. Becker entered the day with only a 70.4 penalty kill-percentage, the lowest in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC). The Hawks themselves went 0-for-3 on the power-plays for the day.

• Earlier in the day, Stonehill College played Franklin Pierce College in the other semifinal game, with the Ravens (5-3, 2-2 NE10) prevailing 3-1 over the Skyhawks (1-4, 1-3 NE10) in a matchup of Northeast 10 Conference rivals.
• The first goal of the game came just 6:05 into the first period when Franklin Pierce junior defenseman Mark Indelicato (Pembroke, Mass. / Walpole Express) intercepted a failed clear by Stonehill just past the blue line which he fed to freshman forward Danny O'Connell (Natick, Mass. / Boston College HS) who streaked past the Skyhawks and slapped it into the lower right-corner of the net from the left side to give the Ravens a 1-0 advantage for O'Connell's first career goal. Junior forward Alex Lester (Methuen, Mass. / Valley Jr. Warriors) was also credited with an assist on the play.
• Then with 2:14 remaining in the first, Franklin Pierce junior forward Matthew Toombs (Pleasanton, Calif. / New England Wolves) found freshman forward Anthony Nikolopoulos (Burlington, Mass. / Boston Jr. Rangers) directly in front of the net for an easy shot into the upper right corner as the Ravens went up 2-0. It was Nikolopoulos' fifth goal of the season thus far, as Franklin Pierce went into the first intermission with the two goal lead.
• Late in the second with 6:51 left on the clock, Lester pounced on a put-back opportunity on the left side to find the net in the lower left corner, giving Franklin Pierce the 3-0 lead going into the third.
• Stonehill finally got on the board with 9:34 to go in the game, when junior forward Ryan Meade (Tewksbury, Mass. / Tilton School) capitalized on a mad scramble in front of the Franklin Pierce goal, finally finding the lower left-corner of the net for his third goal of the season. The 3-1 score would hold up as a final.
• For the game, the Skyhawks outshot the Ravens, 38-27.
• Franklin Pierce sophomore goalkeeper Ian Wallace (West Islip, N.Y. / PAL Jr. Islanders) finished the day with 37 saves in the victory.
• Stonehill junior goalie Matthew Schoen (Tolland, Conn. / Phillips Academy) tallied 24 stops in the loss.

• This is the second year Becker has honored former men's ice hockey head coach Steve Hoar with a memorial tournament. Coach Hoar led the Hawks from 2007 up until his untimely passing in 2016.

The Hawks will play Stonehill in the Tournament consolation game on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. Fitchburg faces Franklin Pierce in the Tournament championship game, that coming on Sunday at 4:00 p.m.

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