GENESEO, N.Y. — A controversial penalty against Potsdam early in the third period gave Geneseo a two-man advantage in a tie game, and the Ice Knights capitalized on their opportunity and held on to beat Potsdam, 3-2.
The game was called tightly all night, as both power plays were given ample opportunities to show their stuff.
“The power play has been together for awhile,” Geneseo coach Chris Schultz said. “They’re used to playing with each other.”
Potsdam got themselves into this particular bind when John Southwick received a major penalty for hitting from behind as well as a game misconduct. A minute later, the controversial tripping penalty occurred. The penalty ended up being assessed against Lance Smith, even though most thought they were calling it on the goalie who appeared to have made a legal play. That’s when the unit headed by Mike MacDonald and Mitch Stephens, who each got an assist on the goal, went to work.
“The one thing we worked on the most this week on a power play situation is moving the puck as quickly as possible, making their defenders react to it, and then hopefully find a lane to the backdoor,” Schultz said.
Sebastian Panetta was that player on the backdoor, and he easily redirected the pass behind Vince Cuccaro. Cuccaro got the start for the second night in a row because Rob Barnhardt is still out with an injury. Cuccaro wound up with 30 saves as Potsdam outshot Geneseo, 39-33.
“That’s exactly what happened on the five-on-three,” Schultz said. “If anybody is going to find a lane it’s Mitch. He found Panetta on the backdoor, and it was a pretty easy goal.”
Potsdam was successful killing off the remainder of the major penalty, but the damage had been done. A couple of minutes before, the Bears had tied the game, also on the power play.
Luke Beck made a quick pass out front from behind the net to Connor Treacy, who one-timed it from the left side. Ryan McCarthy got the other assist.
The teams traded power play goals in the first period. Geneseo struck first when once again quick puck movement was the formula for success. Trent Cassan one timed a shot from the left faceoff circle. Chris Kestell and MacDonald got the assists.
Potsdam tied it on what originally looked to be a broken play. Adam Gebrara dumped the puck into the zone on the right side, too far for the reach of Nic Bibic. However, Bibic, a defenseman not known for his speedy play, actually outskated the defense, got to the puck first near the net, and simply pushed it past Derek Jokic. It was the junior’s third career goal. Jeff Zatorski also got an assist.
The Ice Knights went back on top late in the second period on the only even strength goal. In what started out as an innocent looking play, Mark Schwamberger skated the puck down the right side. The defense kept him to the outside, so he decided to shoot it. It was a perfectly placed shot to the far side just inside the post. Phil Rose got the lone assist.
Unlike their game against Plattsburgh the night before, Geneseo had to deal with a style of play that created penalties which ultimately they took advantage of.
“I don’t think yesterday’s game was called loose,” Schultz said referring to the Plattsburgh game. “I think it was two teams that played disciplined. It was two teams that were skating. They weren’t using their sticks to hold up guys. Potsdam came in and they are going to work you hard in the corners, and it turns into a little bit of a slower game.”
Just making the transition from a contest against Plattsburgh can always be difficult for teams in the SUNYAC.
“Immediately after the game on Friday after the win, we had to turn our attention to Potsdam right away,” Schultz said. “You’re trying to take four points away from the North Country, and it’s not an easy thing to do. I think the guys were focused all day on doing the right things. It wasn’t the most fun game to watch, but we got the job done.”
Jokic got 37 saves in the win.
Getting the job done gives Geneseo a 3-1 conference record (5-2 overall), allowing them to maintain pace with Oswego, two points out. The Ice Knights’ next game is against travel partner, Brockport who is one point back, at home Friday night.
Potsdam, who had hoped to ride last week’s success, fell to 2-3 in the SUNYAC and 2-6 overall. They next play at Morrisville Friday night.