Blue Devils upend Franklin Pierce, 3-2

WINCHENDON, Mass. – Fredonia State completed its two-game New England trip by defeating Franklin Pierce, 3-2, in men’s college hockey Wednesday afternoon.

Junior winger Jared Wynia scored twice in the second period – his team-high eighth and ninth goals – and junior winger Stephen Castriota added a short-handed goal midway through the third period. Freshman goaltender Christopher Eiserman made 24 saves as the Blue Devils improved to 3-8-3 and dropped the Ravens to 2-11-1.

“Jared is our leading goal scorer and a guy we count on,” Fredonia State coach Jeff Meredith said. “I thought he played a complete game. When he gets his chances, he converts. That was a huge boost for us.”

The Blue Devils trailed 1-0 when Wynia scored on a one-timer in the slot early in the second period. His shot was set up following a pass from sophomore winger John DeFeo out of the right-wing corner. Junior defenseman Cory Melkert was also credited with an assist.

Following a shot from the point, Wynia scored on a rebound to make the score 2-1 Fredonia State in the final minute of the period. Assists went to freshman defenseman Zach Whie and sophomore center Taylor Bourne.

“One thing I have been real pleased with the last six games is we haven’t taken a lot of penalties,” Meredith said, noting the Devils are seventh in the nation in Division 3 for fewest penalty minutes per game. “That’s a good positive. I think we are getting to where we want to get to. I see some real forward movement on it.

“We need more out of our power play,” Meredith said. “Our penalty kill, to get to where we want it to be, our goalie has to be our best penalty killer. Then it will be where it needs to be.”

Castriota’s goal was his sixth of the season and gave the Blue Devils a 3-1 lead. It came on a breakaway after Franklin Pierce’s power-play unit turned the puck in the neutral zone. Castriota deked right, went left, and beat Raven goaltender Dave O’Brien with 6:05 left in the third period.

Franklin Pierce’s Tyler Cornele scored off a rebound with 5:01 left and the Blue Devils held on to their 3-2 lead the rest of the way. The Ravens led once, 1-0, in the first period on a power-play goal by Tim Sullivan. The original shot from defenseman Alex Schleper went wide left. Sullivan collected the rebound, skated behind the net, and connected with a snapshot from the bottom of the right-wing circle.

NOTES: The Blue Devils outshot the Ravens, 35-26 … former Blue Devil forward Brett Mueller – a 2013 Fredonia State graduate – is a Franklin Pierce assistant coach on the staff of Jaymie Harrington … next up for the Blue Devils is another New England school, Curry, at 3 p.m. Saturday in Steele Hall. The Colonels of Milton, Mass., are coached by former Blue Devil assistant coach T.J. Manastersky … Fredonia State went 1-0-1 on its New England trip, including a 3-3 tied Wednesday night with New England College … Wednesday marked Day 17 in the countdown to Pink The Rink 2014. The Blue Devils meet Morrisville State in the Feb. 1 pink game at Steele Hall.

Women’s Lacrosse

Fredonia State No. 19

in Lax Mag preseason poll

Fredonia State earned its first-ever preseason national ranking in women’s lacrosse from Lacrosse Magazine.

The Blue Devils are No. 19 in the magazine’s NCAA Division III preseason poll. Defending national champ Salisbury is No. 1.

The rankings, released over the weekend, include three other SUNYAC teams: No. 2 Cortland, No. 10 Geneseo, and No. 18 Brockport. Women’s lacrosse coaches from across the country were consulted in order to rank the teams.

The Blue Devils are coming off a 14-3 season during which they were ranked as high as No. 14 in the national polls. They begin preseason drills later this month under the direction of head coach Chris Case, whose combined a 104-72 won-loss record in 11 seasons. His team will open its regular season against two other teams in the preseason rankings – March 1 vs. No. 14 Susquehanna, March 2 vs. No. 20 Stevenson. Both games are on the Stevenson campus in Owings Mills, Md.