To say that Morrisville is scrappy is an understatement. Despite their poor record last season they gave every SUNYAC team serious headaches. Last night, things were no different. The Morrisville Mustangs were productive enough to force an overtime match-up which Brockport eventually won by a score of 4-3.
You wouldn’t have thought it would progress to that point based on the way the game unfolded in the first period. Morrisville looked sloppy - especially on power play - missing passes, misfiring on shots and skating rather tentatively. They managed 9 shots on goal in the period, three of them being quality shots, including a Stefan Carnegie breakaway at 14:20 expertly stopped by goaltender Todd Sheridan. They did get one past Todd when Andrew Alarie, on an island by himself in the corner, put one top shelf.
Brockport produced a goal in the first as well, a rifle shot by Justin Noble that capatilized on goaltender Caylin Relkoff’s one weakness in an otherwise great skill set: his inability to control lower rebounds. Relkoff initially stopped the shot with his closed hand, but he couldn’t stop it from deflecting off his pads. Ray Tremblay nearly had a goal as well in the first when his shot clanged off the post.
The second period was a different story. Morrisville collected themselves and looked like an entirely different team. Even though they were outshot 14-11 they had better shots on goal and a gameplan that allowed them to sneak two pucks past Sheridan. Knowing that Sheridan’s style is more athletic than it is the conservative butterfly style, they brought the action to the net and would have 2, even 3, men stationed right on top of the crease, tempering Todd’s ability to sprawl out and use his incredible wingspan and reactive legs to stop the puck. They basically surrounded him and that’s how both goals were scored. The Mustangs also looked like special teams geniuses, neutralizing Brockport’s power-play and scoring a shorthanded goal.
Brockport kept the game close in the second when freshman Danny Galiani netted the first goal of his young NCAA career. His goal was snuck in from the crease, Galiani battling Rykloff for the puck and stealing the rebound from him.
Entering the third period down 3-2, the Golden Eagles kept Morrisvile away from the net and they brought the shots to the Mustangs. Both teams looked they were managing a lead throughout the period as it was an almost tedious period lacking in explosiveness or exchanges in emotion. James Cody continued his clutch play and tied up the game at the 9:29 mark.
With 1:20 left in regulation Brockport nearly went on top. Sean O’Malley was only feet away from the net when his blade grabbed the puck as it was bouncing around following a chaotic series of stops by Relkoff. He took a shot that occurred at the same moment a Morrisville defensemen pushed the net off its moorings.
Just a few seconds into overtime, O’Malley was given the chance to make up for the opportunity that was robbed from him when his high-speed wrister whistled past Relkoff, sending the 1,500 fans into a frenzy. It was an exciting play that was all O’Malley as he took off like a rocket when he got the puck.
That win was a must. Had Brockport lost, the SUNYAC would have looked a little different. As it stands now, Brockport a 1-2 is in third place with 5 other teams. It's a young season, yes, but all SUNYAC games must be looked at as playoff games.