BROCKPORT, N.Y. — With the score tied, Brockport’s Jason Dolgy skated full speed towards the net, ready for any possible rebound. Aaron Boyer’s shot did just that, coming straight out in Dolgy’s path. The puck knocked off his stick, and with 1:12 left in the game, it found the back of the net. Potsdam briefly argued that it was kicked in, but the puck went in off of Dolgy’s stick much to the pleasure of the home crowd.
“We’re trying to be better without the puck, getting to the net,” said Brockport coach Brian Dickinson. “I thought in the third period we did a really good job with that. It finally paid off. I think that will prove to us that if you go to the net hard, those rebounds come off, and who knows where it’s going to bounce off, and unless you kick it, it’s going to count.”
With that lone third period goal, Brockport beat Potsdam, 4-3, to stave off a comeback the Bears had mounted in the second period. A comeback that could have caused Brockport to fold.
“If you look at all of our games with the exception of the Manhattanville weekend, we have been a solid third period team,” Dickinson said. “Before I even could get in there [after the second period], they were talking about the fact that we are a good third period team. We’ve come back from behind twice to win.”
This may not have been a comeback, but it was another third period win.
Brockport was also a good first period team, as they took a 2-1 lead.
Right from the first couple of minutes, Potsdam got themselves into trouble by taking successive penalties giving the Golden Eagles a two-man advantage. They didn’t waste it as Gordon Pritchard, initially looking to pass the puck from down low but the lane was blocked, backhanded it into the near side. Vince Cuccaro may have been looking for the pass as well.
About two minutes later, Potsdam tied it shortly after they had a power play. It looked like Brockport was going to clear their zone, but Luke Beck intercepted the pass out. Beck quickly fed Ryan McCarthy down low who easily one timed it past Todd Sheridan.
That was not the only time Potsdam was allowed to have players unguarded in front of the net.
“I think part of our problem might be we may have gained too much confidence,” Dickinson said. “We talked about that after the first period. With that confidence comes that ‘oh I can make that pass.’ You can’t let guys like McCarthy picking you clean as the last guy back.”
Again, two minutes after that goal, Brockport retook the lead on a shorthanded tally that took awhile to develop. An initial breakaway was stopped, but Cuccaro was unable to cover the puck as he laid on his back thinking he had it under him. Instead, both teams furiously whacked at the loose disk, eventually sending it out to the blueline. Gleason picked it up, and noticing the goaltender prone, quickly fired it high and into the net.
Brockport stretched the lead to 3-1 two-and-a-half minutes into the second period. A.J. Maio got his own rebound as no defender was helping out, and easily put it behind Cuccaro.
Potsdam then scored two late second period goals to tie it up, the last one coming with 28 seconds left in the period. Luke Beck got the first one after a strong forecheck forced a turnover. McCarthy fed Beck down low, and Beck made a fancy move to get Sheridan to react first, and then roofed it into the net.
The Bears failed to score on a full two-minute five-on-three, but shortly after that power play, did tie the game thanks to hard work. Sheridan made the initial save on Mike Knapp’s shot, but Josh Gilson hustled his way to the net to get to the rebound first. His shot barely squeezed inside the post.
Then, the third period came, and Brockport took it over, outshooting Potsdam, 10-5, and scoring that fast speed game winner. When the Bears did pressure the net, including a late power play, Sheridan was equal to the task.
“I thought he played nothing short of sensational for us,” Dickinson said of his freshman goaltender. “He comes up with the big save when we need it. The kids have a ton of confidence in him right now. I think he’s handling the puck pretty well, and I don’t think he’s been getting rattled, which is obviously a big key for any young goaltender.”
Sheridan ended up with 23 saves.
It was the first time Brockport had defeated Potsdam since the Fall of 1997. The Golden Knights are now 2-1 in SUNYAC play and 3-4 overall. They host Plattsburgh Saturday night with the Cardinals coming off a loss to Geneseo.
Suddenly, a Brockport-Plattsburgh game has playoff meaning.
“I’m not sure there’s been many times that Brockport has been ahead of Plattsburgh in the standings,” Dickinson said. “The good news is we’ve got to take care of business tomorrow night. We just got to play hard and not fear them.”
Potsdam drops to 2-2 in conference, 2-5 overall. They travel to Geneseo for their next game.