BROCKPORT, N.Y. — It initially appeared to be a Hobart blowout. Instead, it looked to become a stunning comeback by Brockport. In the end, Hobart clung to a 6-5 win over their hosts.
“I’m glad we’re done with them for this season,” Hobart coach Mark Taylor said. “There’s no question with Brockport, they are playing some good hockey. I knew coming in here they made enough noise that they didn’t get enough wins they probably could have gotten. It’s a senior laden team, and I thought they played like one.”
Hobart made it 5-1 early in the third period when Brian Cibelli scored a power play goal. He skated to the front of the net and lifted the puck over the opposite shoulder of Derek Spence.
Then, the Statesmen got into penalty trouble.
“We did some things that we can’t afford to do,” Taylor said. “We took some stupid penalties, some lazy penalties, some selfish penalties, and they capitalized on them.”
Lucas Schott scored on a snap shot that just squeezed through the near side. The next power play saw Chris Koras jam in a rebound after initially missing on the first try.
Suddenly, the game was 5-3. Just as suddenly, Hobart made it 6-3. Nick DeCroo converted a quick pass to the net by Shawn Houde.
“When we had it 6-3, I thought maybe I saw them get a little rattled a bit and maybe it was over,” Taylor said. “But after that they scored another one, and they were right there.”
Mike Gershon scored two successive goals, the later on the power play, on beautiful shots. The first came on a fade away shot from the left that went into the opposite upper corner of the net, bouncing off the posts. The second was a wrist shot from the left point, that sailed in just inside the post.
“Tonight, their power play, the guys who shot it picked their spots,” Taylor said.
With 1:11 left in the game, the large lead had disappeared. Brockport pulled their goaltender and controlled the puck in Hobart’s zone. The Golden Eagles had two excellent chances to tie the game, but couldn’t put the puck in the net.
“I told the team we obviously proved we can come back against a top ten team in the country,” Brockport coach Brian Dickinson said. “The bad news is we got to stop putting ourselves in a position to have to come back.”
The inability to put the puck into the net in the first period cost Brockport just like their last game against Geneseo.
“We have to find a way to score goals in the first period,” Dickinson understated.
Hobart did score in the first period for a 1-0 lead after one. Houde converted a rebound that fell behind Spence.
“Hobart did a great job of cashing in on our big mistakes, especially along top of the face offs where we didn’t get people out to the defensemen,” Dickinson said. “On the first goal we didn’t pick up. On the second one we didn’t even make an effort to get out to him.”
The second goal came quickly in the second period just after a Brockport penalty expired. Kyle Whitaker’s slap shot from the left point went in through a screen.
“What’s killed us in the last couple of games is the first shift of the second period we come out totally dominating the shift and at the end of the shift we take a penalty, and they score. It takes a lot of the momentum away,” Dickinson said.
Hobart made it 3-0 midway through the game. Moriarty made a quick pass from behind the net to Matthew Wallace standing in front unmarked. He easily one-timed it past Spence who had no chance.
Less than two minutes later, Hobart appeared to clinch the game when they scored a shorthanded goal on a two-on-one breakout. Spence went down in a butterfly, but Bobby Cahill, using his teammate as a decoy, shot it high over Spence’s shoulder.
The route appeared to be on until Sean O’Malley scored less than two minutes later on a two-man advantage. O’Malley picked up a loose puck in the slot and backhanded it in the upper corner of the net. That goal set the stage for the third period.
Despite letting up six goals, Spence played a strong game for his first start in two years, making 32 saves.
“He’s certainly not the reason we lost,” Dickinson said. “We didn’t do a good job of giving him much help. They had good looks, screen shots. I thought he gave us a chance to win. He had to be a little nervous in the beginning playing a top ten team, first start in two years. I thought he did a great job in there.”
Hobart remains undefeated at 8-0 thanks to a strong game by Dimitri Papaevagelou who made 31 saves. They take Thanksgiving off before resuming play at Manhattanville on November 30.
Meanwhile, Brockport (2-6-1) has time to ponder another strong effort that fell short before traveling to Plattsburgh on the last day of November.
“We’ve got to stop making those basic mistakes and put ourselves in a position to get the lead and play with the lead,” Dickinson said. “I think we showed we’ll play hard for 60 minutes no matter who we play. I just want the kids to know if we work hard, hopefully we’ll have success in one of these games.”