GENEVA, N.Y. — Despite opening up 4-1 and 6-3 leads, the Potsdam State Bears needed to claw their way to an 8-5 victory over the Hobart Statesmen. Hobart twice closed the gap to one goal, but were never able to get the equalizer.
“The guys worked hard to get a lead,” Potsdam coach Glenn Thomaris said, “and then held them off.”
That lead was gained very early — just eleven seconds into the game when Myles Palliser stole the puck while Hobart attempted to skate out of their own zone. Chris Lee was unable to get a good shot off of the centering pass, but Ryan McCarthy, trailing the play, picked up the loose puck, held it waiting for Adam Lavelle to make the first move, and slid it around the goalie.
Hobart bounced right back just over a minute later. Matthew Garman shot it from the slot area after a quick rush.
The Bears then opened up the 4-1 lead on a power play goal by McCarthy that banked in off the post, a Jason Brothers shot from the middle of the blue line that the goalie was screened on, and a tally by Phil Aubry that went in after the net was knocked off its moorings, but the refs allowed the goal to stand.
Hobart came back with two goals in the first half of the second period to cut the lead to 4-3. Both goals were an example of Hobart’s strengths all night.
“Their power play did a pretty good job,” Thomaris said. “They also did a good job on the face off.”
The first was on the power play when the Statesmen calmly controlled the puck waiting for an opening. It came when Potsdam gave Craig Levey at the left point plenty of room. His slapshot cleanly beat Ryan Venturelli.
The next goal came right after winning a faceoff on a quick shot by Carl Michaelson that beat a still Venturelli.
The Bears got back their three goal lead. First came another power play tally (they were two for three on the night), when it was Potsdam’s turn to control the puck passing it around the horn. A rebound off of Corey McAllister’s shot was banged home by Scott Craig.
The eventual game winner exemplified the whole game for Potsdam as all their goals came off either outhustling or ourworking Hobart in their zone. Palliser’s initial shot went wide, but a strong effort by McCarthy behind the net enabled Palliser to receive the pass back. While fighting off heavy checking, he was able to ram it in.
Hobart started their second comeback of the night with 36 seconds left in the period on another power play. Craig Levey one timed a cross ice pass from Greg Gallagher.
Despite a total of thirteen goals scored in the game, both goaltenders were asked to come up with big saves, without which could have ended the game early for their respective teams. This was most evident in the first half of the final period. Venturelli made a save on a breakaway. Lavelle outdid him, when he stopped a two-on-none. Venturelli later stoned Hobart on a point blank shot.
In total, Venturelli made 33 saves on the night while Lavelle stopped 20.
“Ryan missed the first three games because of a groin injury,” Thomaris said. “This is the first time he’s been 100%. Brett [Barrier, assistant coach] worked with him all week getting him ready. He played a very strong game.”
Venturelli did let up one more goal when he was helpless on a blast by Marc Borden. This once again cut the lead down to one goal, and Hobart continued to apply the pressure.
After Hobart failed to score on a power play, Potsdam immediately turned the tables with a three-on-one rush. Louis David-Demers got the goal with just under four minutes to play.
Hobart pulled their goalie with 2:46 left in the game, but were only able to mount one decent rush. Ryan Trimble got his first career collegiate goal into the empty net while being knocked to the ice with five seconds to go.
Despite the troubles Potsdam had putting Hobart away, Thomaris was happy with the effort. “Finally got a good 60 minute effort. We did some of the things needed to get a win.”
The Bears move up to .500 at 4-4 while Hobart drops down to .500 at 2-2-2.