FPU Ravens men’s ice hockey slides past Post

By Andrew Hoenig

The Ravens defeated Post University Tuesday night, January 30, in a wild, high-scoring affair 7-4 that improved their record to 6-14-1 in front of an audience of just 82.

The first period was a flurry of excitement with a total of five goals being scored by both teams combined. Crowd noise was a non-factor, but the aggressive communication and chippy attitudes by both teams rang loud and clear in Jason Ritchie Ice Arena in Winchendon, Mass.

Raven goaltender Austin Christopher turns away a shot by Post (Photo: Andrew Hoenig)

Post started off the scoring frenzy after just four minutes on a power-play goal on senior goalie Austin ‘Ace’ Christopher. This was Christopher’s fifth start of the season as fellow senior goaltender Tom McGuckin has started in fifteen of the Ravens twenty-one games.

Two and half minutes after Post took the early 1-0 lead, junior defenseman Jack Williams scored on a power-play goal for the Ravens to tie the game. Forwards Alex Lester, who leads the Ravens with 18 goals scored on the season, and Nicholas Fotiu both had an assist on the play.

With a little under seven minutes to play in the first period, the Ravens struck again. This time it was sophomore defenseman Cameron Shepardson with a beautiful unassisted goal to give the Ravens a 2-1 lead. But Post scored again less than a minute later. The puck took a bounce off the ice and sailed right underneath Christopher’s arm and above his leg into the goal.

After the crazy start to game action, the Ravens took back the lead with less than three minutes remaining in the period when senior forward David Wilcox scored with assists from team captain and senior forward Jonathan Haun and junior forward Nate Indelicato. At the end of the first period, it was 3-2 in favor of FPU.

Christopher said, “The first period was pretty wild with some back-to-back scoring. For me as a goalie, it’s just trying to keep it in perspective and focus on the next shot. They got two lucky bounces on their first two goals and for a goalie you don’t want to lose confidence off plays like that.” Christopher said that resetting and forgetting the past is something that helps keep your mind in the game.

Lester said, “We have a saying, ‘don’t let them out of the first five minutes.’ We were on home ice and wanted to go out and test them. They had a different goalie [in net].” Lester said the Ravens were able to roll through their lines well in the game.

The Ravens took the lead into the second period and never let go as Shepardson, Williams, and sophomore forward Matthew Toombs all scored goals and Christopher held Post scoreless allowing the Ravens to take a 6-2 lead into the third period.

Christopher said the big turnaround for the team after allowing two goals in that first period was simple. “We knew as a team what we had to do and where mistakes were made, so the coaching staff just reminded us of those simple plays and in the second period we just tried to go out and play our game.”

In the final period of the game, Post did not want to go down quietly. They scored two goals to move them within striking distance of the Ravens, trailing 6-4 with six and a half minutes remaining. But the Ravens offense stayed hot. Haun put the game away with the team’s seventh goal, melting any hope of a Post comeback.

Franklin Pierce celebrates their victory on home ice at Jason Ritchie Arena (Photo: Andrew Hoenig)

After the seven-point effort, Lester said the Ravens were able to get rolling in the offensive zone. “We started coming past the blue line with odd man rushes and capitalized on those. We had some back-door goals and second chance scoring. Great line-mates worked hard to make that happen,” Lester said.

Christopher also said he enjoyed seeing the team bust out with some big offense. “It was also really important for us to get the win because the rest of our games are against conference teams, so carrying that confidence into those games with us is going to be huge,” Christopher said. “We had some new guys in the lineup as well and it was nice to see everyone contribute to a solid team win; it feels great,” said Christopher.

The Ravens next game is against Saint Anselm, 9-8-1, at 7:30 p.m., Friday, February 9 at Jason Ritchie Ice Arena in Winchendon.

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