BROCKPORT, N.Y. — In a crucial SUNYAC game with playoff seeding consequences, Fredonia outlasted Brockport, winning 7-4 on the road in a contest that deteriorated into a penalty fest.
The penalty box workers in the third period got more of a workout than the players. In total, 33 penalties were called for 112 minutes, including two majors, three 10-minute misconducts, one game misconduct, and one game disqualification.
The first half of the second period was the determining factor for the Blue Devils as Fredonia came out flying buzzing around in the Brockport zone and not allowing a Golden Eagles’ shot till eight and a half minutes in.
“It was important for us to get a quick start there,” Fredonia coach Jeff Meredith said.
“Whatever Jeff said to his guys got them revved up,” Brockport coach Brian Dickinson said. “Fredonia controlled the first part of the period.”
Fredonia scored twice in the first three minutes to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead. Kraig Kuzma dove to knock in a rebound after Scott Bradley failed to knock in a rebound from the initial shot by Don Jaeger. Shortly afterwards, Neal Sheehan outhustled everyone behind the net and stuffed in a wraparound.
Once Brockport did get going, they wound up outshooting Fredonia, 15-14, that period. The second half of the period saw the teams trade goals twice. Gordon Pritchard scooped a shot from the left point that appeared to change direction on the way, fooling Street up high.
Kuzma got it back with his second of the night when he took advantage of Brockport’s inability to clear the puck (again), skated in, and whacked it home.
Pritchard retied the game on the power play with his second goal after receiving a perfect pass from Lecesse at the faceoff circle. Pritchard one-timed a snap shot and beat Street over his shoulder.
Meredith saw enough and pulled Pat Street in favor of Kevin Amborski, who played a strong game the night before against Geneseo. Amborski shut Brockport down the rest of the way stopping all ten shots he faced.
“I thought he was fighting the puck,” Meredith said of Street.
Fredonia retook the lead with 1:22 left in the period when Neal Sheehan took a quick cross ice pass from Bradley, and Greg Van’t Hof was slow to react to the play.
At the end of the second period, Rich Boyce was called for a major spearing penalty and game disqualification. However, Brockport did about the worse thing possible coming out in the third period — they committed two penalties to negate most of their power play time and were scored upon during a four-on-four.
“How disappointed I am when we can turn a 5-4 game and start a period with a major and not take advantage of it,” Dickinson said. “We take too many penalties and this is the time of the year where it really hurts you.”
Colin Sarfeh took a perfect pass from Albert and shot a perfect one-timer to beat Van’t Hof to provide the first two-goal lead of the game. Fredonia put the game away when Barlow put the puck in from close range.
Brockport scored on their first two powerplays in the first period.
“We came out. We were energized. We were focused,” Dickinson said. “It was nice to move the puck around, get pucks to the net, and have it go in.”
The initial goal of the game was a textbook version of a one-timer from the blueline. Anthony Lecesse called for the puck, and Chris Koras obliged feeding him from the corner. Lecesse wound and fired a wicked slapshot that went through all the bodies in front and easily zipped by Street.
The goal seemed to give Brockport a jump in their step as they were being outplayed up to that point. However, that feeling didn’t quite last three minutes as Fredonia tied it up on a rebound. Brockport was unable to clear the puck or the Blue Devils, so Bryan Goudy, standing at the backdoor, was able to lift if over a sprawled Greg Van’t Hof.
Exactly four minutes later, another power play meant another goal for Brockport. Lucas Schott raced towards the goal to collect a rebound, and his effort paid off as he quickly scooped the puck past Street who appeared surprised an opponent got there so fast.
Fredonia (12-8-4, 5-6-2) now leaps frog back over Buffalo State for fourth place and home ice in the first round. The Blue Devils play the Bengals in the last game of the season this Friday for the right to host that first round.
Brockport (6-11-7, 2-6-5) are now tied with Cortland for the last playoff spot. The Golden Eagles own the tie-breaker as they host Geneseo for their final game.