PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Junior Drake Longaker (Gilroy, Calif.) scored a pair of goals to rally Plymouth State University past Worcester State University 6-3 in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) opener for both teams at Hanaway Rink on Tuesday night.
The two teams battled back and forth through the opening two periods until Longaker's second goal of the game gave the Panthers a 4-3 lead entering the second intermission. Plymouth State added a pair of insurance goals early in the third period to put the game away.
Plymouth State improves to 2-0-0 and 1-0-0 in MASCAC play, while the Lancers drop to 1-1-0 and 0-1-0 in league action.
The Panthers took a 1-0 lead at the 4:31 mark. Junior Victor Bergstrom (Angelholm, Sweden) buried a cross-ice pass from senior Matt Volonnino (Hackettstown, N.J.) to the near side to beat Worcester State goalie Josh Reinstein (Woodland Hills, Calif.).
The Lancers tallied the equalizer just over four minutes later as senior Mitch Purdie (Peterborough, Ont.) fired a shot low to the glove side of Panthers' senior goaltender Evan Morelli (Reading, Mass.).
Morelli stuffed a pair of close range shots with five minutes remaining, but Worcester State took a 2-1 lead with 3:47 left in the period when freshman Henry Bruckner (Franklin, Mass.) scored his first career goal. Bruckner's shot from inside the blue line deflected off a skate and past Morelli as the visitors pulled in front.
Longaker pulled the Panthers even with his first goal of the season 7:23 into the second after clearing both zones and sneaking a wrist shot to the blocker side.
The Panthers pulled back in front when senior Michael Covach (Shillington, Pa.) picked up his third goal of the year. Freshman Mike McPherson (Somerville, Mass.) won a puck behind the net and sent a centering pass to Covach at the bottom of the slot. Covach made a move around Reinstein and slipped the puck into the open net.
Worcester State tied things at three with a power play tally with 1:17 left in the period. Freshman Will Ahearn (Charlestown, Mass.) scored his first collegiate goal on a tip-in just 11 seconds into the skater advantage.
Longaker struck again in the final minute as the Panthers retook the lead, this time with a wrister from just inside the blue line.
Seniors Cam Cundy (Portsmouth, N.H.) and Ludvig Steenberg (Stockholm, Sweden) added goals just 27 seconds apart to secure the win.
Covach has tallied three goals and three assists through the first two games, while Volonnino has picked up five assists in the early going.
Senior Mike Moran (Milford, Mass.) notched three assists for the Lancers, while Purdie had a goal and an assist.
Reinstein was outstanding between the pipes, making a number of spectacular saves, to finish with 45. Morelli made 24 stops for the Panthers.
After being outshot 15-13 in the first period, Plymouth State blasted 38 shots to the Lancers' 12 over the final 40 minutes.
The Panthers head to NCAA Division II Stonehill for a non-conference game on Saturday (Nov. 3) at 5:10 p.m. Worcester State is also in action against a D-II school this weekend, hosting Franklin Pierce on Friday (Nov. 2) with puck drop set for 4:40 p.m.
Release courtesy of Plymouth State Sports Information.