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Men’s ice hockey closes historic season in playoff loss

Three hockey players in ice arena
Izabela Gage / THE GATEPOST

By Sophia Oppedisano

Interim Asst. Sports Editor 

By Izabela Gage

Staff Writer

The Framingham State Rams fell to the Westfield State Owls in a 4-0 first-round playoff loss, knocking them out of a MASCAC Tournament run Feb. 22.

The Rams entered the playoffs coming off a three-game losing streak. They entered the tournament as the fifth seed in the conference behind the fourth-seeded Westfield. The Rams held a MASCAC record of 8-11-2 going into the matchup with the Owls.

This 2023-24 season was the Rams’ most successful season in the past 9 years with eight wins, all of which came against conference opponents. 

Head Coach Mike Bailey, who began his career with a 2-22-1 overall record in 2018-19, now has an all-time record of 22-85-9. The Rams worked up to an overall record of 8-16-2 under Bailey this season.

Assistant Captain Devante Dixon said, “I think our biggest strength is what used to be our biggest weakness - our team culture. We've established a foundation of resiliency and relentlessness, and having that foundation going into next year is exciting.”

Framingham faced the Fitchburg State Falcons Feb. 17 in a 2-0 loss in their final regular season game.

The loss was dominated by physical checking by the Falcons and the teams combined for a total of 22 penalty minutes. 

Sixteen of those penalty minutes belonged to the Falcons, giving the Rams 10 power-play opportunities. They were unable to score on any of them.

The Rams celebrated their seniors - Patrick Colgan, Trevor Stenberg, Elijah Slagter, Cam Lindsay, and Andrew Miller - during a Senior Night Ceremony before the game against the Falcons. 

Hockey goalie in between net and three players
Izabela Gage / THE GATEPOST

“Since I was a freshman, the goal preached to us by the seniors was to leave the team just a little bit better than when you got here,” Dixon said. 

Despite the shutout loss, the Rams displayed the kind of perseverance Framingham home crowds have grown accustomed to. 

Colgan said having family in town helped lift the team’s spirits after the loss.

“We’ve had an up-and-down season where we’ve won some games, and lost some games, so we’re kind of used to battling the adversity at this point,” he added.

The Rams outshot the Falcons 35 to 22 and the Owls 27 to 25 but were unable to find the back of the net in either matchup. 

Goalie Trevor Stenberg had 20 saves against the Falcons and 21 saves against the Owls. Stenberg has a combined .907 save percentage in his last three seasons with the Rams. 

Stenberg was tabbed as the MASCAC Goalie of the Week three times this season. 

The season also featured Framingham rookies, including Nathan Gines, who scored his first two NCAA goals in a win over Worcester State Feb. 1, and Brady Rossbach, who was named the MASCAC Rookie of the Week Dec. 4. 

“It's been a movie to watch. The freshmen that came in brought so much energy and swag with them. It was contagious from the get-go,” Dixon said. 

Dixon added this season is just a step forward for Framingham hockey and is “by no means the peak” of the program. 

The Rams finished the season with a final conference record of 8-12-2 and an overall record of 8-17-2.

“One year at a time this program will continue to improve and with everyone buying into this mindset - into the culture we've been building - the sky's the limit for this program,” Dixon said.



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