GENESEO, N.Y. — Geneseo and Potsdam could have saved a lot of fuel for the Zamboni by skipping the first and third periods, and the respective intermissions, and just playing the second.
That’s because, with the exception of a last-second empty-netter, all the goals were scored in the middle stanza, four in a 2:24 span.
On the other hand, that would have deprived a large crowd of seeing a very good college hockey game.
By winning the second period, Geneseo won the game, 4-2. It was a crucial game in the standings as these were two of the three teams in a logjam for second place in the SUNYAC.
The first period saw Potsdam control the puck territorially, but Geneseo outshot the Bears, 18-9, and had the majority of good chances. Most of Potsdam’s shots were from the outside while Geneseo kept Potsdam from getting decent second shots off.
“[Geneseo] did a real good job on faceoffs,” Potsdam coach Glenn Thomaris said.
And that’s exactly how the scoring got started in the second period, in just 43 seconds.
After Geneseo won a faceoff to the left of Potsdam’s Ryan Venturelli, Eric Lawler shot from the right point. It was not a particularly hard shot, but through a crowd, Venturelli reacted late. The puck squirted through his legs while he was down on his knees.
Despite a physical game, only six minors were called, four on Potsdam. Out of those half dozen power plays, only Geneseo notched a goal, making it 2-0 midway through the game.
Once again, the puck found its way back to the right point, and once again it was shot towards the net, this time by Mike MacDonald. And, once again, it found its way through the five-hole.
Just over a minute later, Potsdam found the net on a perfect two-on-one. It started with a breakaway down the right side when Myles Palliser counterattacked after picking up a loose puck at center ice. Chris Lee joined the play while a Geneseo defenseman rushed back a hair behind.
Palliser was patient, waiting till the last second to pass to Lee. With Brett Walker playing the shot, he had no chance to get over. Lee one-timed it into the unguarded net.
Now the goals were coming fast and furious. Less than a minute later, Geneseo got the their two-goal lead back. Chris Tarr found himself sitting at the doorstep unmolested. Michel Bond found him, and Tarr redirected the pass past a helpless Venturelli.
Before the Geneseo crowd could even sit back in its seats, Potsdam again cut the lead to one, 19 seconds later. Like Geneseo’s first two goals, Potsdam’s first two were similar.
In this case, Ryan Mattison, after receiving a perfect crossing pass from Mark Stewart, one-timed it into an unguarded net as Walker could not come across fast enough.
According to Geneseo coach Brian Hills, Walker was not happy with those two goals. “In between the second and third, he was real upset with the two goals that were scored on us,” Hills said. “He let our guys know that we have to tighten up defensively. Yeah, we’re playing great offensively, but we can’t be giving up opportunities like we did there.”
The third period saw the Bears play well and Geneseo try to protect the lead. It was the only period Potsdam outshot Geneseo, 15-10. The Ice Knights did a solid job in that protection role, Thomaris conceded.
“They did a good job pinning us in,” Thomaris said. “They knocked some pucks down and forced us to make some bad passes when we didn’t have to and jammed it back into our end and made us start in our own end. It’s tough to generate a lot of offense when you got to go 200 feet to score a goal.”
Justin Corio’s unassisted empty-net goal with 1.8 seconds left clinched it.
Geneseo outshot Potsdam, 44-30, for the game with Walker making 28 saves. Venturelli stopped 40.
Geneseo is now 7-3-1 in the SUNYAC, in a tie for second place with Oswego, which clobbered Buffalo State, 8-1. Overall, Geneseo improves to 13-5-3 (9-1-2 in its last 12 games). Geneseo gets put to a another test when it hosts first-place Plattsburgh Saturday for Senior Night.
Potsdam, now in fourth place, two points behind second, moves to Brockport where it hopes to gain a split on the weekend. The Bears are currently 6-4-1 in the league and 8-12-2 overall.