WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The Western New England University men's ice hockey team overcame a pair of deficits to earn a 2-2 tie with the Wentworth Institute of Technology on Friday night in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) opener for both teams at the Olympia Ice Center.
Although the game officially ended as a 2-2 tie, the Leopards collected two points in the league standings after scoring in the 3-on-3 overtime period. Western New England earned one point with the result.
Senior forward Dominic Blad (Springfield, Mass.) and junior forward Luciano Bucci (Franklin Square, N.Y.) both scored for the Golden Bears, while senior goaltender Kyle Carducci (Hartford, Conn.) finished with 38 saves.
Wentworth received goals from senior forwards Georgy Gorodetsky (Yekaterinburg, Russia) and Adam Tracey (Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.).
Wentworth capitalized on a power play opportunity to open the scoring midway through the opening frame, as Gorodetsky buried a one-timer from the right circle on a feed from senior Nate Chase (Plainfield, Ill.). The Leopards, who outshot the Golden Bears 14-4 in the first period, led 1-0 after 20 minutes of play.
Five minutes into the second period, the Golden Bears were able to tie the contest after forcing a turnover in the Wentworth defensive zone. Senior Corey Kennedy (Clemmons, N.C.) snagged the puck out of the air at the blue line and slid a pass across the slot to Blad, who scored on a wrist shot from the top of the left circle.
The Leopards again utilized a power play chance to regain the lead less than two minutes into the third period. Senior defenseman Connor Busch (Lake in the Hills, Ill.) found Tracey open in front of the net, where he stuffed home a backhander to make it 2-1.
Less than four minutes later, Western New England tied the game again. Junior Nolan Zweep (Abbotsford, B.C.) played a puck off the end boards that deflected off a Wentworth defenseman and fell to Bucci in front of the net. Bucci took advantage of the opportunity, firing a shot past Leopards sophomore goalie Ryan Bonnvie (Falmouth, Maine) to even the score at 2-2.
Neither team scored for the remainder of the third period or during the five minute, 5-on-5 overtime period, but the Leopards were able to secure two points as Busch scored at the 2:50 mark of the 3-on-3 overtime frame.
• Wentworth outshot Western New England 40-19, but the Golden Bears held a 34-28 advantage in the faceoff circle.
• Bucci has scored in both games this season, while Zweep has a team-high three assists.
• Carducci has made 37 and 38 saves, respectively, over the first two games.
Western New England (1-0-1, 0-0-1 CCC) and Wentworth (1-1-1, 0-0-1 CCC) will play the second of their three-game season series on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. in Everett, Mass.