GENESEO, N.Y. — Three was the magic number at the Ira S. Wilson Ice Arena Saturday. Geneseo held a three-goal lead five different times, and after a wild third period which saw nine goals, finally defeated Potsdam by a margin of three, 9-6.
“It was a strange type of game,” Geneseo coach Brian Hills said. “We had a really tough game last night [against Plattsburgh]. It took a lot of energy out of our guys. We kept getting those big leads and making mistakes tonight.”
Leading the way for Geneseo was Jay Kuczmanski, who got the hat trick and two assists for five points on the night. Mike McDonald got a pair of goals and Brett Bestwick accumulated three assists. For Potsdam, Ryan McCarthy scored two goals and one assist.
“Some bad penalties put us in the hole early,” Potsdam coach Glenn Thomaris said.
Those penalties enabled Geneseo to open up a 3-0 first-period lead with two power-play goals.
Chris Tarr scored with a man advantage from in close. Jack Bullard scored an even-strength goal — a nice turnaround no-look backhander that was perfectly placed. Kuczmanski got his first of the night, once again from down low, on the power play.
Potsdam started its first comeback attempt midway through the second period. T.J. Sakaluk, from behind the net, fed Pat LeMay in front. Geneseo’s Brett Walker got a piece of the shot, but it still went between his legs.
Sakaluk made it 3-2 on Potsdam’s prettiest goal of the night. He waited for the defenseman to go down, then again waited for Walker to commit, and finally backhanded it into the far upper corner.
Geneseo didn’t seem bothered, and went to work on rebuilding the lead. MacDonald got a power-play goal late in the second period. The third period opened up with two straight goals by Kuczmanski, the second on a breakaway.
On the hat-trick goal, Barnhardt stayed back in the net, and Kuczmanski easily went to his left, using his backhander to get around the goalie. Hats flew onto the ice.
“Right now we have four lines that is going real well,” Hills said. “Tonight it was Kuczmanski’s night to shine. You need different guys to step up to the plate all the time.”
With the Ice Knights now owning their largest lead of the night, 6-2, Potsdam once again started a comeback. Ryan McCarthy scored a shorthanded goal on a breakaway followed less than two minutes later by a Greg Lee goal.
That was followed 33 seconds later by a Geneseo score that once again gave them a three-goal lead. Schofield got the marker.
Just when the game couldn’t get any stranger, it did. McCarthy got his second of the night from in close, lifting the puck over Walker’s leg.
The Bears stymied their comeback when they committed two quick penalties. However, with 1:11 left in the game, Potsdam got a two-on-none rush while two men down. McCarthy carried the puck into the zone on the left side, passed across to Warren Sly, who one-timed it past Walker.
“They got pretty excited by it,” Thomaris said of that shorthanded goal.
Now, it was 7-6, but the Bears were still two men down. It was too much as Geneseo scored two power-play goals in 17 seconds by MacDonald and Mitch Stephens.
“A little bit too much time on the one penalty,” Thomaris said. “If we could have gotten one guy back and get our goalie out with about a minute to go. They [Geneseo] had to have been back on their heels a little bit and then hope you get a puck on net and you never know.”
This time Geneseo kept the three-goal lead, enabling it to keep pace with Oswego for second place as both have conference records of 5-2-0. Overall, Geneseo is 8-2-1, and next plays RIT at home next Saturday in the I-390 battle that sees two coaches who are also close friends once again go at it.
Potsdam slips to 2-5-0 in the SUNYAC, but keeps sixth place. Potsdam is 4-9-0 overall and finishes the first semester at Utica next Saturday.