USCHO's beat reporter was on campus Friday night and he offers this recap of the 4-2 victory over Potsdam...
BROCKPORT, N.Y. (Jan. 22) — Brockport took advantage of a third period five minute power play to score the winning goal and added an empty netter to defeat Potsdam, 4-2, in a key SUNYAC game.
After falling behind 2-0, Todd Sheridan shut the Bears down the rest of the way for a total of 36 saves while also relying on a goaltender’s best friend, the goalposts.
“A great, great effort,” Brockport coach Brian Dickinson said. “To fall behind 2-0. To chip away for a goal at the end of the first period. We made some adjustments on the power play. We did what we do best. We just work hard and shut the door after they got those two. Everybody contributed one way or another.”
“I think we got away from what we did well,” Potsdam coach Chris Bernard said. “We tried to be a little too cute. We got a couple of goals early which is not easy against a goalie like Todd, and I think we thought okay we got his number tonight. We just didn’t do enough to stay the course and pour it on.”
With the score tied 2-2, Kevin MacLellan was called for a major and game misconduct at 2:47 of the third period. It took almost three minutes for Brockport to finally break through, but James Cody did. An outside shot by Ian Finnerty was stopped by Trevor O’Neill, but the rebound came straight out. Zack Juliano couldn’t handle the puck in front of the net, and Cody smacked it in just under the crossbar.
“He works hard up and down the ice banging bodies along the wall. He’s an unstoppable player,” Dickinson said of Cody. “We really wanted to concentrate on getting pucks on the net. We talked after the second period to come up off the wall, stop shooting for the far side, to shoot at the middle of his pads and get rebounds. And that was a prime example of that.”
“I don’t necessarily think it was a major but those guys have a tough job every single night,” Bernard said. “They called it, and from that point on it’s how we deal with it. We killed almost the entire thing off and all of a sudden they get a long shot and rebound comes off Trevor’s pads a little bit hot and a bad bounce off a D-man’s stick, and we’re fishing it out of the back of our net.”
With the major power play still on, a wild back-and-forth sequence nearly changed the complexion of the game. Potsdam broke out with a shorthanded two-on-one. Connor Treacy fired a rocket that smacked off the goalpost creating a ring that was probably heard across the Brockport campus. The puck quickly went the other way where Sean O’Malley had a breakaway. He fired it high, but O’Neill made an excellent blocker save. After all that, the score remained 3-2.
Midway through the final period, Potsdam had the power play, but their best opportunity was a shot that once again smacked off the goalpost with a ring that echoed through the arena.
Brockport thought they had an insurance goal with about seven minutes left after stealing the puck in front of the Potsdam net. However, the reason they stole the puck was because they committed a checking from behind penalty, and the goal was quickly waved off.
Potsdam pulled their goalie for the last minute, but could not convert. Instead, Adam Schoff got an unassisted empty netter with 1.7 seconds left.
Potsdam’s attempt to pull off yet another third period comeback fell short this time.
“We talked about it in between the second and third,” Dickinson said. “We wanted to really pay attention to our D-zone. We just try to protect the middle of the ice and not let a guy like Connor [Treacy] , Fraser [Smith] , or Todd [Hosmer] get control.”
The Bears took the 2-0 lead with goals at 3:28 and 11:42 of the first period. Mike Foy from the side threw the puck to the middle where it deflected off a defenseman and past Sheridan. Matt Rhymer got a power-play tally with a wrist shot from the middle of the blue line that floated in when Sheridan did not pick it up through a screen.
“It’s nice to not have to worry about ‘oh my gosh is this thing going to get out of hand,’” Dickinson said about falling behind early when having a goalie like Sheridan. “It’s nice for our guys to know that we can come back against a pretty good team. Having Todd back there settles everyone down.”
Brockport got one back before the period ended at 16:06 on the power play. After a Potsdam defender lost control of the puck, Justin Noble took shot from an angle that O’Neill got a piece of, but it still managed to cross the line.
“We’re a team when we score we get energized,” Dickinson said. “It’s almost like a light switch.”
Adam Korol tied the game at 4:29 of the second with a slapper from the right point that found its way through a screen.
“We just have to be better,” Bernard said. “With our team, it’s not about heart. We have a lot of heart. It’s a matter of channeling that emotion. Tonight is one we let get away.”
Brockport (10-8-0, 4-5-0) leapfrogs Potsdam to move into fourth place. The Golden Eagles remain at home to take on powerful Plattsburgh.