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Men’s ice hockey defeats Worcester in program-defining season

Adrien Gobin / THE GATEPOST

By Adam Levine

Sports Editor

By Riley Crowell

Asst. Sports Editor

By Sophia Oppedisano

Staff Writer

The Framingham State Rams defeated the Worcester State Lancers 6-4 Feb. 1.

Framingham now holds an overall record of 8-11 and a MASCAC record of 8-8, which currently ranks fifth out of the eight teams in the conference.

This is the first time since the 2013-14 season the Rams have won at least eight games, and there are six games remaining in the season.

Freshman Nathan Gines, who scored his first two goals of the season - and of his career as a Ram - said, “To be honest, we're not really thinking about that right now. We're just trying to think about the playoffs.”

Head Coach Mike Bailey said the season’s success starts with the assistant coaches - Melvin Nichols and Soren Colstrup - working with the team’s leadership - Captain Patrick Colgan and Assistant Captains Ashton Collazo, Devante Dixon, and Eli Slagter.

Bailey said, “Our leadership group has been phenomenal.

“They take a lot of pride in the fact that the school is so supportive of athletics and we want to give them some wins in return,” he added.

Bailey said the team has been working together as a “unit” this season.

“We pick each other up. We play as a team. We face adversity - we go down a few goals, but we never stop. We play for 60 minutes from start to finish and we try to play the right way,” he said.

Tyler Westfall, a junior, said, “We definitely struggled a little bit our first couple years, but it's been nice seeing the progress.

“The fact that a lot of these guys that were there my freshman year have really stuck through and kind of made this program what it is now - kind of sowed the seeds [the] last few years and are finally starting to reap some of the benefits of it,” he added.

Framingham’s win comes after a lopsided 9-2 defeat against UMass Dartmouth - the number-two ranked team in the MASCAC - Jan. 27.

Colgan said, “We're feeling really good, especially bouncing back from the tough loss - a beating - that we took against UMass Dartmouth. It feels good to get back in the win column.

“I feel really good about the team's growth. I'm really proud of this group,” he added.

Collazo said the win over Worcester is “a good one to get on track.

“We kind of got destroyed on Saturday,” he added.

Collazo said the team was “relatively disciplined” against the Lancers.

The first period was scoreless for the first 15 minutes of play. The Lancers struck first before Gines scored only eight seconds later.

“It feels pretty awesome,” Gines said.

He went on to score a second goal late in the third period.

“All the hard work throughout the whole year -  all the ups and downs. It feels really good to score the first two - especially at home,” Gines said.

Two minutes later, Framingham freshman Scott Bugarin scored - assisted by Colgan and senior Cam Lindsay. 

The Rams led 2-1 entering the second period.

After a slow start to the period, Worcester scored two goals and took a 3-2 lead.

With less than ten seconds left in the period, Collazo - assisted by sophomore Jake Barcelou - found the back of the net to tie the game 3-3.

Collazo said, “Getting goals in the last two minutes of periods is huge.

“I remember I got the puck at the top of our circle in our zone, actually looked back at the clock to see how much time I had, passed it up to Brady my linemate, he shot it and I went to the net.

“That's a deflator for them, and it's an inflator for us,” he added.

The Rams began the third period tied 3-3.

Framingham freshman Brady Rossbach - assisted by Barcelou and Dixon - scored an early power-play goal to take the lead back for the Rams. 

In addition to his goal, Rossbach spent four of Framingham’s 10 penalty minutes in the box. Both of his penalties were during the second period.

Rossbach said, “Honestly, I shouldn't be in the box at all.

“I put the boys down a little, but I was super confident, as soon as I went in there, my boys are gonna have my back,” he added.

Gines - assisted by Collazo - scored his second goal of the game with 13 minutes left to play. His goal gave Framingham a 5-3 lead and put Worcester on the offensive for the remainder of the game.

Collazo’s assist to Gines displayed the connection between the team’s veterans and younger players.

Collazo said, “They’re the future.

“We need young guys coming up and for him to get some goals like that, he’ll be in the lineup more often - probably on my line.

“That’s huge for him,” he added.

Gines said, “We really bring the family culture into the Framingham State hockey program and all the guys are just so tight together and we just feel like one big family.

“The upperclassmen are really showing us the way too,” he added.

Worcester scored a short-handed goal on a Framingham power-play, cutting the Rams’ lead to one goal with just 30 seconds left of the game.

The Lancer’s goal proved to be futile after Framingham sophomore Brent Scott scored on the ongoing power-play in the final two seconds of the game.

Framingham’s ability to score power-play goals and hold steadfast on their penalty kills ultimately led them to the 6-4 victory over Worcester.

Framingham held Worcester to 1-5 on the penalty kill, allowing the single Worcester power-play goal in the second period.

The Rams host Salem State for another MASCAC matchup Feb. 3.

Colgan said, “Our goal for this season, at the end of the day, is to win the league - to win the MASCAC. That starts by getting to the playoffs.”

“Spirits are high and we're going to prepare for Salem.

“It just starts in practice - make sure that we're properly prepared,” he added.



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