PAWTUCKET, RI. – Not since the 2003-04 season has the Johnson & Wales University men's ice hockey team had a first-year head coach. The Wildcats made sure the James LaCour era started on the right foot as they defeated Worcester State, 5-3, on Friday night.
Worcester State: 0-1
Johnson & Wales: 1-0
WSU: Tyler Fallica – 28 Saves, 5 GAA
JWU: Joey Ballmer - 21 Saves, 3 GAA
It was a wild first period of the season as the two teams combined for five goals. The Wildcats got two goals in the first four minutes as Fran Mackin (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Matt Lanzillotti (Chicago, Ill.) scored power play goals.
The Lancers answered with a trio of goals to take a 3-2 margin into the first intermission. Alex Pommerville assisted on back-to-back goals in the span of 19 seconds. Jeff Pierson scored with two seconds remaining in the opening period to gain the lead.
Johnson & Wales regained the lead in the second period. Jonathan Ruiz (Williamstown, NJ) tied the game with an unassisted goal at the 11:18 mark. Three minutes later, Alan Boozer (Detroit, Mich.) took a pass from Chad Guderian (Coppell, Texas) on the breakaway and scored a short-handed goal that was the eventual game-winner. Boozer has already equaled his goal total from all of last season and it's the first JWU short-handed goal since the 2014-15 season.
After giving up the three goals, JWU goalie Joey Ballmer (Kalamazoo, Mich.) settled down and made 11 of his 21 saves in the final two periods. The Lancers' Tyler Fallica made 21 of his 28 saves in the final 40 minutes. The Wildcats had a 33-to-24 advantage in shots.
Johnson & Wales is back on the ice November 3 when it plays host to Western New England at 6:55 p.m. It will be JWU's first league game as a member of the Commonwealth Coast Conference.