SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — Union junior forward Chris Potts is better known for his ability to kill penalties and block shots than score goals.
But on Friday against Nebraska-Omaha, Potts delivered with offense.
Potts beat goalie Jeremie Dupont with a shot from the high slot 1:27 into overtime, lifting the Dutchmen to a 3-2 non-league hockey victory over the Mavericks at Messa Rink.
“‘Pottsie’ made a great play,” said Union goalie Justin Mrazek, who made 25 saves. “You can’t say enough about him. He’s mostly known as the guy who blocks the shots, and he’s one of our best PK guys. For him to get a goal tonight, especially the OT winner, is special for him. It all paid off for him. He worked so hard.”
Potts came down the left wing with the puck. After he crossed the UNO blue line, Potts cut to the slot. With Dupont being screened by Andrew Buote, Potts fired the puck into the net for his third goal of the season. It extended the Dutchmen’s home unbeaten streak to 3-0-3, and improved their overall record to 4-7-3.
“It was a well-executed play right from the start,” Potts said. “We had ‘Millsie’ [Brendan Milnamow] taking his time on the breakout, skating with the puck instead of just firing it out. We executed the three-on-two, with Buote going hard to the net, creating spaces for me, and [Sam] Bowles coming behind me in case I wanted to drop it to him. He drew the defenseman away from me, also, so I had a clear lane.
“By Buote going to net and screening the goalie, I don’t think he ever saw it.”
Bowles, Buote and Potts comprise Union’s fourth line. Their job is to shut down the opponent’s top line, not score goals.
“It means a lot when we get a fourth-line goal like that,” Union coach Nate Leaman said. “Usually in a game, fourth lines don’t get many shifts in overtime. They proved their worth throughout the game. They were one of our better lines executing out on the ice. They proved that they were worthy of the ice time. They executed, and scored a big goal for us.”
The Mavericks (5-8-3) nearly won it 27 seconds into OT. Mrazek stopped Alain Goulet’s slot shot. The rebound caromed to his left, onto the stick of Brandon Scero. Scero fired a shot, and started celebrating. But it was premature because Union junior defenseman Mike Harr got his stick on it before it went into the net. Mrazek covered it.
“Mike Harr made a good save,” Mrazek said. “The puck went off my pad to the guy [Scero] side door. All of a sudden, I see Mike Harr behind me make the save.”
It was a good night for Harr. After Matt Cook scored Union’s first goal with 4:33 left in the first period, Harr made it 2-0 with 20.5 seconds remaining in the first with his first collegiate goal. His shot from the right point bounced past Dupont.
“It was a good feeling,” said Harr, who assisted on Potts’ goal. “It was nice to get the monkey off my back. It wasn’t anything fancy. Then I got some guff for my celebration.”
Dan Charleston scored a pair of power-play goals in the second period to tie
“I thought we played a great first period, and then we got running around a lot,” Leaman said. “They can do that to you because they have a lot of skilled forwards. They opened it up, and they got us running around.”
Ken Schott covers college hockey for the The Daily Gazette in Schenectady, N.Y.