Sometimes, the referees don’t get it right.
After Friday night’s game, Brockport State probably wishes instant replay was used at the Division III level in hockey. Instead of a possible victory, after a disallowed goal Brockport had to settle for a 1-1 overtime tie against Potsdam State at the Tuttle North Ice Arena.
The controversy revolved around a would-be tally with 8:10 left in the game that would have given the Golden Eagles a 2-0 lead — and in a game where goals were hard to come by, might have been enough for the win.
Instead, the goal judge, after turning the goal light on momentarily, and the referees determined that the puck bounced off both posts and out.
All too often teams are quick to blame the refs for a loss, but in this case Potsdam head coach Ed Seney agreed, stating on a postgame radio interview that the puck was clearly in.
So maybe Brockport coach Brian Dickinson can legitimately be upset.
Seney could afford to be magnanimous because he also believed that a Potsdam goal in the first period which was called back was just as good as the Brockport non-goal. That incident occurred on the power play, when defenseman David Weagle put one just through the five hole. While Potsdam celebrated, the refs went over to the scorer’s table, where instead of providing the information on the goal, the officials were informing the scorers that the goal did not count because Potsdam had too many men on the ice.
Potsdam argued vehemently while slowly placing a man in the box, but the score remained 0-0. In fact neither team would score on the power play, both going 0-for-5. Brockport had the best chance in the first period, but seconds after going up two men, Ken Daleo committed a tripping infraction away from the puck on a player who was no threat, the type of penalty that drives coaches insane.
The star of the game was goalie Tom Payment, a transfer from Canton Tech after just one year leading them to an NJCAA national championship. Payment’s size, stand up style, and excellent glove stymied the Bears time and time again.
Of course, Potsdam didn’t make it too difficult for Payment as they failed to move the puck around once they gained the offensive zone, allowing Payment to see virtually every shot. Meanwhile, Brockport’s defensemen did the their job of clearing the puck and opposing players away from the net.
Potsdam’s Ryan Venturelli had a glove hand just as quick as Payment, but Brockport finally got on the board thanks to a mental error by Venturelli.
After gloving a long shot, it appeared Venturelli would hold on for the faceoff. At the last moment he decided to play it to the side of the net. By then, the Brockport forwards were in deep, and Nick Smyth stole the puck from a surprised Potsdam defender. Venturelli made the initial save, but fell away from the net and couldn’t recover before Smyth knocked in the rebound. The unassisted goal came just 25 seconds into the second period.
The game then returned to its usual pattern. Potsdam applied pressure, Payment turned them back, and occasionally Brockport would launch a counterattack only to have Venturelli equal to the task.
Then came the fateful non-goal in the third period, followed by even more intense pressure by Potsdam which finally paid off at the 17:09 mark.
A scramble in front of the net resulted in numerous chances for Potsdam before Mike Snow finally banged the puck home over the sprawled goaltender. Sean Darke was awarded the assist.
Potsdam had a few more opportunities in the overtime period, outshooting Brockport 3-1, but again they were denied.
For the contest, Potsdam outshot Brockport 48-21.
Regardless, Brockport must forget about what happened because Plattsburgh State is coming into town. With Payment quickly establishing himself as one of the premier goalies in the league going up against perhaps the best goalie in SUNYAC, Niklas Sundberg, it should be quite a battle between the pipes. Meanwhile, Potsdam travels down I-390 to take on Geneseo State, hoping to find a solution to their sudden lack of scoring.