By Sophia Oppedisano
The Framingham State Rams came to a 2-2 draw against the Salem State Vikings in overtime Feb. 3. The Rams are currently ranked fifth in the MASCAC.
The Vikings have been an exacting opponent for the Rams over the course of the season, and managed to match Framingham across the box score in this most recent match.
“Games against Salem have always been ones we have circled on our schedule,” said goalie Trevor Stenberg.
The Rams struck first on a goal by Scott Bugarin, assisted by Walker Smith and Kaleb Kinskey 8 minutes into the game.
Jake Barcelou went to the penalty box twice for checking and a delay of game. The Rams successfully killed both penalties, maintaining an overall penalty kill percentage of 75.6%.
The second period proved tougher for the Rams as Framingham faced pressure throughout. Both teams saw big scoring chances before the Vikings scored to tie the game 1-1 with five minutes left.
The second period ended in a 1-1 tie.
“They always play with fire,” Stenberg said.
“Our conversations in the locker room about that is to stick to our game plan. Just because the plan isn’t working for 5 to 10 minutes of the game doesn’t mean we abandon ship,” Captain Patrick Colgan said.
Both teams came into the third period fighting for scoring opportunities. The Rams faced big offensive pushes by the Vikings but managed to outshoot them 20 to 10.
Salem broke the stalemate halfway through the period, bringing the score to 2-1.
Colgan found the back of the net to tie the game 2-2 with 6 minutes left, assisted by Nathan Gines and Smith.
“It feels great to be supported by your brothers on and off the ice, especially in tough moments when we’re facing adversity. To be able to come together as a unit in tough spots is what’s going to continue to make us successful,” Colgan said.
He added the team's “never-say-die” attitude sets them up for late third-period comebacks.
The game went into a 5-minute, three-on-three overtime period tied.
Neither team could break the draw and the game ended 2-2.
Stenberg made a key difference with 47 saves. He controlled much of Salem’s offensive pressure and had several big stops to hold the Vikings to two goals.
Stenberg said, “As a goalie, it’s fun to see a lot of shots and make an impact on the games.”
Stenberg earned the MASCAC Goalie of the Week award on Feb. 5.
Head Coach Michael Bailey said Stenberg “has been given a chance to be the number one goalie this year and has never looked back.”
Stenberg has an overall .912 save percentage heading into the rest of the regular season for the Rams.
Framingham faced nonconference opponent Rivier University Feb. 6 in a 3-0 loss and conference opponent Westfield State Owls Feb. 8 in a 4-4 draw, marking the Rams’ second consecutive MASCAC tie.
The fourth-ranked Owls scored three goals in 43 seconds early in the second period. The Rams came back to score three goals in 90 seconds in the last minutes of the third period. Between these scoring runs, each team scored a goal.
Assistant Captain Ashton Collazo scored the first goal of the game for the Rams and had an assist on the game-tying goal by Brady Rossbach in the third period, which was also assisted by Smith.
Collazo said his line went on the ice and set up the power-play goal. “I’d say that we just wanted it more. We knew what was at stake with this game and the opportunity to clinch playoffs.”
“From there, we just had the confidence to continue pushing - they took their foot off the gas and we sensed it and took advantage,” he added.
Neither team broke the draw in overtime and the game ended 4-4.
Collazo said the tie clinches Framingham’s playoff berth and “from here on out, it’s a race with Westfield” for a first-round playoff home game.
Framingham now holds a MASCAC conference record of 8-8-2 and an overall record of 8-12-2.
The Rams travel to top-ranked Plymouth State for a conference matchup Feb. 10 before ending the regular season with two home conference matchups Feb. 15 against MCLA and Feb. 17 against Fitchburg State.