CORTLAND, N.Y. — Call it the “Plattsburgh hangover.”
The combination of Cortland State coming off a physically and emotionally draining victory over Plattsburgh State the night before and Potsdam State picking up where they left off in the last two periods against Oswego State Friday night resulted in Potsdam opening up 4-0 and 6-1 leads en route to an 8-4 victory at Alumni Arena in Cortland.
Said Potsdam coach Glenn Thomaris, “Our guys came out excited to play.”
“I was concerned about the guys because they worked so hard yesterday,” Cortland coach Tom Cranfield said. “I was worried about what would happen.”
What happened was Potsdam jumping out to a 4-0 first period lead. Mike Snow got things started at the 2:55 mark when he swept in a rebound off a shot from Eric Peter-Kaiser.
Six minutes later it appeared that Cortland had the game tied when a high shot gave Ryan Venturelli all sorts of problems. It bounced off his shoulder, off the crossbar, and down on the line. Whether the puck actually went in or not was difficult to determine. Ultimately, the refs ruled no goal.
A couple of minutes later, Corey McAllister made it 2-0 when he took advantage of his teammate’s error. Snow tried to skate it in close when he lost control of the puck. However, McAllister was right there to pick it up and fired it over the left shoulder of John Larnerd.
After that goal, it appeared Potsdam controlled the puck in the Cortland zone for the next two minutes, that’s how dominating the Bears were early on. After much passing and shooting, Mike Smitko finally made it 3-0 after Chris Lee found him open in the slot. Larnerd had no chance on the one timer as by now his defense left him at the mercy of Potsdam.
Snow got his second of the night with a wraparound goal with one minute left in the period. The Bears outshot Cortland 14-4 in the first period.
It would get worse in the second when Potsdam outshot Cortland 25-9, extending the lead to 6-1 after two.
However, Cortland scored first in the second on a power play. Tim Earl picked up a rebound from in close and slammed it home.
Four minutes later, Larnerd stopped a two on none breakaway as well as the subsequent shots afterwards.
That would all be naught as Jim Quilty made it 5-1 while the teams were skating four a side. The goal was the result of Potsdam’s patience, waiting for the defense to over commit, and passsing it off, thus leaving a wide open lane for the shooter.
At this point, Cortland replaced Larnerd with Mike Paine. It didn’t help, as Lee, who was named the number one star of the game, scored from the point on another four-on-four situation.
Cortland came out in the third period much stronger, and began making a game of it.
“We came out in the third not to give up,” said Cranfield. “Our plan was to take the body to spark something to happen.”
In the first minute, Jason Wilson was allowed to skate alone in front of the net, and he shot it low through the five hole.
At 7:25, Kevin Watters displayed great patience as he went in alone down the left side. Venturelli went down hugging the post, but somehow Watters, after taking his time eyeing the situation, found a gap big enough to slip the puck between the goalie’s shoulder and the post.
The physical nature of the game picked up greatly, and players on both sides were being paraded to the sin bin. In all, 30 penalties were called for a total of 76 minutes.
Potsdam stemmed the tide when they made it 7-3 on the power play. Mark Stewart carried the puck in on a two on one with Lee. Stewart used his teammate as a decoy to beat Paine who seemed to be playing the pass.
That didn’t stop Cortland. After a slew of wild hits and more penalties, the Red Dragons scored again. Watters got his second of the night when he picked up a rebound that Venturelli couldn’t find. Watters was easily able to put it in the empty net.
At this point, Thomaris called time out, fearing his team was getting off its game.
He explained, “I was disappointed we got caught up in the behind the scene kind of stuff. We had to curb it right there.”
Curb it they did, as Potsdam got the final goal of the game when the teams only had three skaters each. This enabled Potsdam to pass it around until Lee was all alone in front of the net with the goalie out of position. He didn’t waste the opportunity.
In all, Potsdam got 54 shots on net, while Cortland had 25.
Potsdam is now 2-1-1 in SUNYAC and 6-2-1 overall. The Bears go back home to play Hobart next Sunday.
Cortland stands at 2-2 in the league and 3-3-1 overall. The Red Dragons next host Utica College on Tuesday.