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DiNicola Has Been Key Part of Fitchburg State’s Success

January 19, 2019
Fitchburg State's Nick DiNicola skates with the puck during a Nov. 16, 2017, game against Framingham State in Fitchburg. SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE FILE PHOTO Sentinel and Enterprise staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

FITCHBURG -- For two seasons now, Nick DiNicola has been synonymous with the word “consistent.”

It seems day in, day out, you know what you’re going to get from Fitchburg State’s senior forward. And it’s not hyperbole: Since the start of the 2017-18 season, DiNicola has gone without scoring a point on the ice just eight times in a 43-game span.

For the sake of comparison, he’s put up three points in a contest seven times in that same stretch. Most nights, the Falcons are guaranteed a point from the Wolcott, Connecticut, native.

So it should come as no surprise that DiNicola is working his way up the career points rankings at FSU. Having notched his 100th point earlier this season, DiNicola became the 30th member of the century club in program history.

DiNicola has posted six goals and 19 assists in 16 games this season, putting him currently at 116 points with nine regular-season contests left this season and almost certainly multiple playoff games following that. As of now, DiNicola sits at 24th on FSU’s all-time list, with a strong chance of breaking into the top 20 with the pace he’s on.

He could also crack the top 10 for career assists, as DiNicola sits just five helpers away from tying Bob McMahon for 10th at 91. Hitting the century mark for assists would land DiNicola in a tie for seventh with Dan Genatossio.

The forward will have a chance to add to his totals on Saturday, as the Falcons host Salem State for a 5 p.m. contest.

And while DiNicola’s play has been outstanding, the No. 1 spot on the Fitchburg State scoring list seems safe for now. It’s hard to imagine anyone catching the 248 points of Jeff DuRoss in the foreseeable future. The Class of 2000 member -- and current head coach of the Dracut/Tyngsboro co-op hockey team -- notched 128 points and 120 assists in his career.

It might not look like an impressive record at the moment, but perhaps there’s a reason the Fitchburg State men’s basketball team sits at 6-9. Call it crazy if you’d like, but it’s possible that the Falcons are below .500 by design.

Maybe that’s not the right way to put it, but a stacked non-conference slate to start the season could have done more to make the Falcons battle-tested than a weaker schedule would have done simply to bolster the win-loss ledger.

Tilts against strong Williams College, Husson University and WPI programs set the Falcons back, but since the start of MASCAC play, FSU is 2-1, with the lone loss coming by just two points on the road at Framingham State.

Of course, that theory could be shut down pretty quickly as the Falcons will face a quality Worcester State team at Parkinson Gymnasium Saturday afternoon.

Kudos to the Fitchburg State women’s basketball team, which at 8-6 is one win away from matching the nine wins the program was able to record in each of the last two seasons.

Head coach Dan Nagle has turned the team around, pointing it in the right direction after taking the helm following an 0-25 season by FSU in 2015-16. He’s brought in solid talent and put the Falcons in a position to compete every single night.

Other college notes: It was nice to see Fitchburg native Drew DiGeronimo back on the Wallace Civic Center ice last weekend, skating for Wentworth in a 7-4 win over Fitchburg State. The defenseman and 2014 graduate of Fitchburg High notched an assist in the victory. ... Townsend native and former St. Bernard’s standout Garrett Stephenson is having an outstanding sophomore season for the WPI men’s basketball team, averaging 12.8 points per game, as well as 6.7 rebounds in his 10 contests. The 6-foot-7 center has three double-doubles this season for the 12-4 Engineers.

Follow Nick Mallard on Twitter @n_mallard.

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