WESTFIELD, Mass. – The Westfield State men's ice hockey team's comeback efforts came up just short, as the Owls fell to Franklin Pierce University, 4-2, on Tuesday night at Amelia Park.
Sophomore Ryan Gorbett (Cleveland Heights, Ohio) picked up the game-winner midway through the second, while Mark Indelicato (Pembroke, Mass.) tacked on two assists in the Raven victory.
Senior forward Cameron Shepardson (Albany, N.Y) got the Ravens on the board first when sent a fluttering puck toward Thierry Messervier (Montreal, Quebec), who seemed to have misplayed the shot in the air, as it caromed off his shoulder and into the net for the 1-0 Franklin Pierce lead.
Westfield would have a quick answer as less than three minutes later, senior Robert Neuwirth (Zlin, Czech Republic) intercepted a pass from the Raven defense and wrapped it just out of the reach of goaltender Kyle Martin (Westford, Mass.) to even the score at one apiece.
Franklin Pierce would then respond with an unassisted goal of their own when Jason Ladzinski (Norcross, Ga.) followed up two of his own shots with a wrap-around from behind the net in a tremendous effort to put Franklin Pierce up 2-1.
The Ravens controlled much of the play throughout the next period and a half, outshooting the Owls 29-11 through the end of the second period.
Along with the stat advantage, Franklin Pierce would also take a 3-1 lead into the third thanks to a power-play goal from sophomore Ryan Gorbett, who finally beat Messervier after two magnificent saves.
After a back and forth start to the period, senior Daniel Backstrom (Helsinki, Finland) made things interesting after he rung home a wrister after a nice pass from Justin Alves (Woburn, Mass.) to pull the Owls within one.
Westfield pulled Messervier with 1:17 to go in a last-ditch effort to tie the game, but the comeback effort fell short after defenseman Stephen Jacobs (Hingham, Mass.) threw one all the way down the ice and into the Owls empty net to seal the 4-2 victory for Franklin Pierce.
Franklin Pierce outshot the Owls for the game, 42-20, while the Owls held the slight edge in faceoffs, 39-35. Messervier put forth a solid effort in net, giving Westfield State a fighting chance for the entirety of the game and made 39 saves in the process. Martin picked up the win for Franklin pierce, stopping 18 Owl shots.
With the victory, Franklin Pierce moves to 3-2-1 overall, while the Owls drop to 2-3-1.
The Owls resume conference play this Saturday when they head to Fitchburg State for a 4:00 p.m. matchup with the Falcons.
Franklin Pierce also returns to conference action, as they host Saint Michael's at 4:00 p.m. as a part of Heart Disease Awareness Night.