By Greg Maynard
The Fitchburg State University ice hockey team has gotten off to a fast start this season, winning their second consecutive IC Federal Credit Union Shootout at the Wallace Civic Center.
The Falcons soared in their first game on Nov. 12 against Franklin Pierce University. Right out of the gates, senior Kevin McReady and junior Cory Callen put the Falcons up 2-0 halfway through the first period.
Goals scored by sophomore Justin Quinn and senior Billy Pescosolido rounded out the period for the Falcons, putting them in a commanding 4-0 lead heading into the first intermission. The Falcons never looked back, scoring four more goals in the second period and one more in the third by junior Thomas McAleer, sophomore Curtis Nikitas, junior Travis Bertolotti, sophomore Trevor Lawler and another goal registered by Quinn, winning the game 9-3. Junior Bobby Leiser earned the win for the Falcons in goal, stopping 27 shots.
The championship game of the tournament, however, provided a much tougher opponent for the Falcons in Wentworth Institute of Technology on the Nov. 14.
In what seemed to be a tournament theme for the Falcons, they struck the game’s first blows in goals scored by McAleer (second of tournament) and junior Kris Threlkeld to put the game in their hands going into the first intermission 2-0.
Threlkeld scored his second goal of the game halfway through the second period, but then Wentworth fought back with two goals of their own to make the game tight going into the second intermission, 3-2.
Third-period goals have been key for the Falcons throughout the years and they helped out in a big way on Saturday. McReady scored his second goal of the tournament and senior Chris Riggs delivered the coup de grace to put away the resilient Leopards 5-3. Senior Bobby Vorse earned the win for the Falcons in net, recording 37 saves.
Quinn was deemed MVP (earning 6 points) of the tournament and named to the all-tournament team while also gathering a MASCAC Ice Hockey Player of the Week award and named a “Soaring Falcon” as well.
Assistant Coach Christopher Kyne said he expects good things to come out of his team this season with the younger players, noting that Lawler and Quinn “should step up big.”
“The biggest thing for us is our conditioning; the guys came in strong,” Kyne said. “Our team worked very hard in the offseason.”
Kyne singled out Riggs as a “force” in the high-powered offense the Falcons showed over the weekend and wishes to continue throughout the season.
“The goal of our team is to outwork the other team for 60 minutes,” Kyne said. “We have to compete and play every minute of every game to win. If you work hard for 60 minutes you give yourself a good chance.”
The Falcons are set to hit the ice again on Dec. 2 at 7:35 p.m., at Westfield State University.