BROCKPORT, N.Y. — A goaltenders’ duel was somewhat spoiled by a controversial goal in overtime, enabling visiting Geneseo to escape with a 4-3 victory over Brockport.
On the winning play, Brockport tried to clear the puck, but Geneseo kept it in. A shot towards the net from near the blueline by Jay Kuczmanski was deflected on the way by Chris Tarr. Andy Reynolds was unable to handle the deflection and it bounced by him into the net.
Brockport called for a high stick on the deflection and head coach Brian Dickinson was animated on the bench. However, after conferring, the referees let the goal stand.
While most concentrated on the high stick, some observers noted the play was offside, and should have been blown dead before it even started.
No matter how it should have been called, Geneseo got the win and the all important two points.
“We got our two points. It wasn’t pretty, but we got it done,” Geneseo coach Brian Hills said.
The fact the game made it to overtime required a Brockport team that wouldn’t give up. Trailing 3-1 late in the second period, Brockport kept plugging away, and in fact played harder and harder as the minutes went by.
“If you look at what we’ve done since we came back, we’ve been getting stronger and stronger,” Dickinson said. “Right now, we got guys going hard, going well, and believe in what we’re doing. We were hoping to steal a couple of points.”
Chris Koras cut the lead to 3-2 on a perfectly executed two-on-one. With a Geneseo penalty just ending. Brockport jumped into the Ice Knights’ zone. Brent Wiest carried the puck down the right side, passing it across to the left to Koras. Koras one-timed a shot over the shoulder of Brett Walker.
The shots on goal in the third period were low, only 9-7 in favor of Geneseo, but Brockport was working as hard as ever. However, they were constantly thwarted by Walker and a tenacious Geneseo penalty kill. Brockport had three power plays in the third period, but couldn’t convert on any of them. In fact, Brockport went 0 for 11 on the power play.
“We were doing a great job with the penalty killing all night,” Hills said.
After killing off a late penalty of their own, the Golden Knights once again bore down on Geneseo. With less than a minute left to play, surprisingly Brockport did not pull their goalie. As it turned out, they didn’t need to.
Hard work kept the puck in, and Koras chased it down behind the net. Walker didn’t put up a fight when Koras looked to try the wraparound, allowing Koras to instead pass it across the crease to Gord Pritchard who shot it into the upper corner on the near side with 44 seconds left in the game.
What was Geneseo thinking on the bench waiting for the overtime period? “They got mad at each other. They were upset. They knew we shouldn’t be in that position,” Hills said. “We got in trouble because we weren’t doing the right things defensively. We had a couple of chances to get it out. We didn’t get the darn thing out!”
The game started out with a lot of penalties in what appeared to be a re-emphasis on the points of emphasis. Twenty-five penalties were called in all. The key special teams moments came in the second period when Geneseo got a power play and shorthanded goal.
The power play goal made it 2-1. Mitch Stephens initial shot was saved. The rebound by Trent Cassan was also saved. However, the next rebound came out to the side by the post, and Reynolds was not able to get across in time. Michel Bond easily tapped it into the open net.
Less than four minutes later, Mike MacDonald scored on a shorthanded breakaway. The puck was knocked down the ice by Eric Lawler, and then it was a simple case of MacDonald out skating the defense. He swept across the net and put it in with his backhand for a 3-1 lead.
The teams traded first period goals with Geneseo taking the initial lead. Kuczmanski banged it in from right in front after Tarr dug it out from behind the net and fed Kuczmanski.
Three minutes later, Brockport tied it. Brian Bauman passed it from the side of the net to Wiest who redirected it past Walker.
All night, Brockport was able to get guys down low unchallenged. “It was one of the things we worked on,” Dickinson said. “We felt if we could get the puck down low and have our late guys find the seams, we were hoping we could catch them thinking about transition and generate a chance. It’s nice to put a game plan in, and have it execute, and almost pull off the upset.”
Walker ended up with 26 saves as Reynolds stopped 32 shots. Both goaltenders played very strong and would have been the story of the game. Instead, at the 1:02 mark of overtime came a goal that Brockport argued and Geneseo celebrated.
Brockport’s record drops to 6-12-1 and 0-7-1 in SUNYAC. They will host Buffalo State and Fredonia next weekend.
Geneseo moves to 11-5 and more importantly to 6-2 in conference play. After they host an exhibition against the US Under-18 Team on Sunday, they also host Fredonia and Buffalo State next weekend.