Falcons looking for old ways

Ryan Wolcott of Fitchburg State (Tim Brule)

The Fitchburg State Falcons captured the MASCAC title in 2011, the first postseason title in the program’s history. Dean Fuller, who enters his 29th season as head coach for the Falcons, has been behind the bench for most of the program’s existence. Yet even after winning that title, he still feels that there is more to be seen.

“It’s hockey, and things are always changing,” stated Fuller.

Since Fuller took over in 1984, Fitchburg State has had 26 seasons where his club has won double-digit games, including three straight regular season ECAC Northeast titles in the late ’80s.

To say that his program has been consistent throughout the years is an understatement. The fact that he has been able to lead all but three of his teams to winning records puts Fitchburg on the map as a perennial powerhouse each season.

“I have been able to work with great players and coaches, and this is one of the top academic colleges in the state, which helps attract kids,” explained Fuller. “Oh, and yes, a little luck.”

Last year though, was the second worst season the Falcons had under Fuller, as the 2011-12 club went 9-13-4. Fast forward to this year, the Falcons seem to be headed down that same path.

“Last year’s team had a hard time getting focused, and I blame myself,” Fuller said. “This year’s team has worked very hard and is getting better each week; we just have to be more consistent.”

The 2012-13 campaign for the Flacons got off to a slow start after going 1-3-1 in their first four games before snapping off two victories in a row. However, that seems to be the trend of this year’s squad: a couple wins here, a couple of losses there. Fitchburg has yet to put more than two wins together all season, although its best stretch came in late November, when it won three of four.

A bright spot though this season has been the play of senior forward Joe Caveney, who leads the entire MASCAC in points with 19 (five goals and 14 assists). He is trying to lead an offense that ranks fourth in the MASCAC, while the Falcons defense is slated fifth — middle of the pack in both ends.

“Joe has been great for us this season; he works hard and brings a great skill level to our team, especially on the power play,” noted Fuller.

It doesn’t get easier for Caveney and the Flacons, as their last four of seven games include the top four teams in the MASCAC, teams that have been giving the Flacons trouble all season long.

“We have to focus on the daily battles and play our game,” Fuller said. “We will be fine.”

Fitchburg State had such a storied past in the ECAC Northeast, but now its time to make a name in the MASCAC.

What’s done is done, but for the Flacons, a peak into the past could be the motivation needed to turn things around.


Players of the Week

Rookie of the Week:
Mike Leskun, Worcester Sate, forward. The Geneva, Ill., native posted two points in the Lancers’ loss to Salem State.

Offensive Player of the Week
Kyle Greco, Plymouth State, senior. Greco tallied a goal and three assists for a four-point week, including a game-winner and having the helper on another game-winner.

Defenseman of the Week
Mike Puddifant, Westfield State, freshman. The freshman from British Columbia is on a six-game point streak, with one goal and seven assists over the stretch. He picked up a pair of helpers last week in the win over Fitchburg.

Goaltender of the Week
Jack Astedt, Plymouth State, senior. Picked up two wins last week for the Panthers, stopping 57 of 60 shots in the pair of games for a .950 save percentage.