PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. — North Country travel partners squared off in a game that would decide the final seedings for the play-in round of the SUNYAC playoffs.
Visiting Potsdam could finish anywhere from third to fifth, while Plattsburgh was guaranteed home ice this weekend — it was just a matter of whether it would finish third or fourth.
The latter question was answered when Plattsburgh defeated Potsdam, 5-2. For the former question, Potsdam had to wait to see what happened in the Geneseo game.
Though Plattsburgh controlled play early on, it took awhile before the Cardinals scored their first goal, which came when Conor McDonough beat Ryan Venturelli up high on the power play at 18:46.
It didn’t take long for Plattsburgh to get their second goal, just a couple of minutes into the second period. Bryant Wilson jumped onto the ice just after a Cardinals penalty expired, and found himself with the puck and a breakaway, and he didn’t waste the opportunity.
At the 15-minute mark, Plattsburgh scored another power-play goal when Brendon Hodge rifled a shot from the blue line that Venturelli had no chance on.
Plattsburgh, playing one of its strongest periods of the season, was up 3-0, and Potsdam only had one shot in the second period. It appeared the Cardinals were about to cruise to an easy victory.
Then, suddenly, Potsdam scored twice in 20 seconds to cut the lead to 3-2, both on relatively weak shots. The first was scored by Joel Jennings and assisted by Scott Craig. The second was scored by Craig, assisted by Jennings.
Those were the only shots in the period by the Bears, as Craig Neilson made just one save. Meanwhile, Venturelli was keeping Potsdam in the game as he turned aside 20 of 22 second-period goals.
Plattsburgh quickly answered the comeback attempt in the third period when Doug Carr dumped it towards the net, and it found its way through the five-hole at 1:23.
Kilcan sealed the game with an unassisted empty-netter.
Plattsburgh finishes one of its more disappointing regular seasons in third place with a league record of 9-4-1 and 15-7-3 overall. Plattsburgh will host Cortland this weekend in the two-game first-round playoff series.
Potsdam, after getting off to a strong start early in the season, wound up finishing 7-6-1 and 12-11-2 overall. This meant Potsdam would play Geneseo, an overtime loser to Brockport.
Geneseo loses the tie-breaker to Potsdam, so the Bears will host the Ice Knights this weekend in a rematch of last year’s play-in round, but up North instead.