By Danielle Achin
The Framingham State Ice Hockey team skated to a scoreless three periods and scored in OT action against Fitchburg State, sending them to the MASCAC semifinals.
This was a much-needed win for the Rams and they proved themselves on the ice facing oF against the #2 seed in the league.
The game opened up with a flurry of shots sent from both teams but none were able to sneak by the goalkeepers, totaling 6 valuable saves from Rams goalie Blake Carlson, and 7 saves from Falcons Brian McGrath to end the period.
The second period showed to be no different from the first. Despite two man-advantage opportunities for Fitchburg, Carlson kept the Falcons oF the board with 15 blocks ending the second at a 0-0 standstill.
In the third, it was evident the Rams had shaken the Falcons confidence and they were determined to score, sending another fIurry of shots toward the Rams, but Carlson held oF all 11 shots.
The Rams responded skating in on a breakaway attempt, but McGrath made a straggling save to end the period and send the game into overtime.
Not even four minutes into OT, Carlson had collected five saves for the Rams.
The Rams offense charged in the seventh minute when Fitchburg was called on a cross-check penalty. Kaleb Kinskey capitalized on the advantage, firing a shot and beating goaltender McGrath for the 1-0 victory for the Rams and Kinskey’s very first goal of the season.
Not only was this an upset for the Falcons losing on home ice, the game winning goal sent the Rams spilling onto the ice for a celebration so wild that a pane of glass wound up shattered.
Kinskey commented on the big win for the Rams. He said, “We knew the odds were stacked heavily against us. We did our homework and played defensively sound for a full sixty minutes.”
He said the biggest spark for him is his captain Brian Kozek who always boosts everyone’s confidence and motivates the team every day.
Kozek also praised his team for their confidence going against stacked odds.
“Playoffs bring out the best in everyone, and I think not being in the playoffs for so long, none of the guys took this opportunity for granted,” he said. “I think we shocked a lot of people, but I’ve known that we’ve had that effort and game in us all year long. You always believe that you can and will win, but to actually go out there and do it on the road is a pretty cool thing to be a part of.”
The men faced off against #1 seed Plymouth State in the MASCAC semifinal March 1.
Before this match, Kozek said he was prepared for whatever the outcome may be.
“If it does not end up the way we want to, I will cross that bridge when I get there,” he said. “For now, I plan on preparing and doing everything that I can to help this team move one step closer to our ultimate goal.”
Kiskey added, “Win or lose I couldn’t be more proud of our team! Talk about a group of guys who came together at the right time of the season to do something really special.”