POTSDAM, N.Y. — For the second time in four days, the two SUNYAC North Country rivals, Plattsburgh and Potsdam, squared off, though unlike last Friday in the PrimeLink Great Northern Shootout, this game counted in the league standings.
And unlike that first meeting, where Potsdam advanced with a shootout after the game ended in a tie, Plattsburgh left no doubt about the outcome of Tuesday’s contest. Plattsburgh exploded for five goals in the second half of the first period en route to a 9-1 shellacking of the Bears in Potsdam’s Maxcy Hall.
Jeff Hopkins got things going when he picked up a loose puck at the blue line, used his strength to enter the zone, and fired it low past Ryan Venturelli.
Before the goal could be announced, Bryant Wilson banged in a rebound from in close to give Plattsburgh a 2-0 lead.
Three minutes later, Jason Kilcan made it 3-0 on a play made by Ben Kemp, who muscled his way into the zone and fed Kilcan in front.
The onslaught continued when Kilcan split the defense and flipped it over Venturelli for his second of the night. David Friel finished the first period scoring with a single tick left on the clock, roofing a shot from inside the faceoff circle while on the power play.
The scoring machine continued in the second period when Chad Kemp’s power-play shot changed direction after deflecting off a defenseman, fooling Venturelli. Shortly afterward, Jayson Barnhart beat Venturelli down low to his right.
Plattsburgh scored one more goal before the second period was done, a shorthander by Rob Retter. It was the fourth shorthanded goal Potsdam has allowed in the past three games.
Venturelli’s streak of playing every minute this season came to an end when Potsdam mercifully replaced him in net with Matt O’Connor. The Cardinals didn’t care, as Rob Retter got his second on the night for a 9-0 lead.
Craig Neilson had a quiet night in net for the Cardinals, but when tested, he came up with the saves, 10 in all for the first two periods. For the start of the third period, Plattsburgh coach Bob Emery decided to give freshman Curtis Cribbie, who has been hurt all season, some action. He made eight saves.
Potsdam spoiled the shutout with 19 seconds left in the game when Eric Peter-Kaiser scored a five-on-three power-play goal.
Despite all the scoring, shots on goal were relatively low: 25-19 in favor of Plattsburgh.
Plattsburgh has now played two consecutive strong games, having previously beaten Middlebury, 6-1. The Cardinals take that momentum, and a 4-1-3 overall mark and 3-1-1 conference record on the road to first place Fredonia Friday night.
Meanwhile, Potsdam licks its wounds before traveling to Buffalo State Friday night. The Bears are now 7-4-2 overall and 2-2-1 in SUNYAC play.