BROCKPORT, N.Y. — With 7:54 left in the game, the fire alarm went off, causing the evacuation of the Tuttle North Ice Arena in Brockport, N.Y. At the time, Brockport was hanging onto a 2-1 lead while trying to kill a five-on-three with one of those penalties being a major.
When play resumed, Brockport used the unscheduled break to their advantage, killed off the penalties, and then after committing another infraction, scored a shorthanded goal to defeat Morrisville, 3-1.
Whether Brockport needed that fire alarm or not is open to debate because the game really started to turn in the second period despite no goals. Brockport outshot Morrisville, 22-3 in that middle period, taking control of the game.
“I thought we did a great job regrouping in the locker room and coming out hard in the second period,” Brockport coach Brian Dickinson said. “Although we didn’t score, we did a great job controlling the puck.”
Brockport did put the puck in the net early in the second period, but the goal was disallowed because the net was off it’s moorings. The Morrisville net was often knocked off, and the goalie, Cody Williams, was called once for delay of game.
The teams traded goals in an evenly contested first period which saw both squads get nine shots on net. Brockport broke the ice first on a virtual power play — it went in exactly two minutes after the penalty was called. Anthony Lecesse was allowed to skate the puck end to end down the right side, and when Morrisville defenders continued to back off, he cut towards the net and slipped the puck through the five-hole. Because Brockport goalie, Greg Van’t Hof, dropped the puck off for Lecesse way back in their own zone, Van’t Hof got the assist.
Morrisville tied the game with 35 seconds left in the first period on the power play. Van’t Hof was fooled by movement behind the net, and went down trying to cover the opposite side. He was never able to recover, and Morrisville furiously tried to put the puck into the partially unguarded net. Finally, Joseph Herman found himself in front of the net with Van’t Hof sprawled on the ice. He simply lifted it over the goaltender for the score. Brett Quinn and Matt Damskov got the assists.
“Scoring in the last minute like that gives them a little energy,” Dickinson said. “We just had to get back to finishing checks. We thought we did a great job in the second period generating penalties off our speed. I thought we did a great job energy wise in the second period.”
After Brockport turned things around in the second period, they carried that momentum into the third period and it finally paid off six minutes in.
After constant pressure in the Mustangs’ zone, Lecesse had the puck on the right point. He passed it across to Chris Brown who let the shot go through a screen, leaving Williams with no chance at it. He did get a piece of it, but it squeaked through.
The last time these teams played, Brockport outshot Morrisville, 57-18, yet lost the game, 2-1. This time, Dickinson was looking for the quality of shots, not the quantity. The go-ahead goal was a prime example.
“We did a good job of not just coming down the wing and shooting the puck on net,” Dickinson explained. “We did a good job of working the cycle, getting their defensemen tired, getting them running around and slipping a guy out in the slot, or when we cycle the puck around two or three times, getting it back to the D. I thought our D did a pretty good job of getting the puck and getting it to the net. We got the game winner on a perfect opportunity when Anthony had a chance to shoot and hears Brown yell at the last minute and he’s wide open and he lets a nice shot go, and the guys did a great job getting in front of the goaltender, and he didn’t see it.”
Each team was whistled for ten minors while Brockport’s Greg Schwind got a five minute major and a game misconduct for hitting from behind. Thus, there were many five-on-three’s including the one interrupted by the fire alarm. Neither team was able to take advantage of them.
“When we went in after the second, I talked to [assistant] coach [Mark] Digby and said ‘Man we’ve got to be the worst team in the league on the five on three power play,’ and he looked at me and said, ‘You know I think we are better four on five than we are five on three.’”
That proved to be prophetic as the clinching goal for the Golden Eagles was scored while shorthanded. A.J. Maio made a rush down the right side, got to the face off circle, and let a shot go. It went through the five-hole, which shocked Williams who couldn’t believe he let it get in.
Despite that mistake, Williams, a transfer from Cortland, played an excellent game, keeping his team in the contest, often making some great glove saves.
“He let in two bad goals,” Morrisville coach Earl Utter said. “But when he made so many great saves, how can you fault him?”
Williams made 38 saves in the loss while Van’t Hof only needed to make 14 saves, though many were not easy, to take the win.
Both teams are off until next year. Brockport, 5-6-4 at the break, plays after a month off, when they travel to Elmira on January 9.
Morrisville sits at 4-8 in their first year at Division III and doesn’t return to the ice until January 6 when they go to Buffalo State.