Hobart College sophomore Alec Robitaille scored what proved to be the game-winning goal midway through the third period as the No. 7/8 Statesmen hockey team defeated Plymouth State 2-1 in an NCAA Championship first round game tonight in The Cooler.
The Statesmen improve to 20-7-2 overall and advance to the NCAA quarterfinals. Hobart will travel to play at No. 5/7 Oswego on Saturday, March 16.
Plymouth State (17-8-3) jumped out to a 1-0 lead 5:48 into the first period. The Panthers got control of the puck at center ice after a Statesmen turnover. Ryan Stevens took a quick pass from Matt Volonnino before finding the back of the net for his 12th goal this winter.
The Statesmen took over the momentum in the second period, out-shooting the Panthers 16-5. Hobart finished the game with a 40-14 advantage in shots. At 12:13 in the second, Denicourt evened the score for the Statesmen. He found an opening in the Plymouth State defense on the left side, broke in for a one-on-one with the goaltender, and sent home his shot for his sixth goal this season. First-year Dan Sliney and Robitaille earned the assists on the play.
At 8:22 into the third, Robitaille scored his first goal of the season which proved to be the game winner. Denicourt fired a shot on goal and the rebound bounced around in front through some of the Panther defensemen. Robitaille was there to stuff the puck across the goal line. The Statesmen defense held strong for the remainder, killing off a penalty late in the third. The Panthers also pulled their goalie for the extra skater late, but Hobart denied any scoring chances. Evan Morelli finished with 35 saves in goal for Plymouth State.
The Statesmen went 0-for-5 on the power play and killed off all three of the Panthers’ power-play opportunities.