BROCKPORT, N.Y. — Brockport scored four unanswered goals in the final 7:37 to pull off a stunning come-from-behind 4-3 victory over Morrisville in front of a small but happy home crowd.
“Once you get one, the floodgates typically open in these kinds of games,” Brockport coach Brian Dickinson said.
The floodgates started to open at 12:23 when Sean O’Malley broke the shutout bid of Caylin Relkoff. O’Malley received a pass from behind the net from Chris Koras and fired a quick one-timer that blew past Relkoff.
Brockport wasn’t happy with just stopping a shutout.
“We felt if we could get one and maybe pop a second one, they would get a little on edge because they wouldn’t know how to handle the lead,” Dickinson said.
They did pop a second one three minutes later at 15:47. Dave McNab shot softly from the blue line, and it changed directions bouncing off of bodies on the way past a bewildered Relkoff.
Suddenly, the Golden Eagles were one behind; they still weren’t satisfied.
“We’ve been playing from behind it seems like all year long so it wasn’t anything new for us and once we got on that roll as we’ve done a few times this year it all came together,” Dickinson said.
The roll continued with exactly three minutes left on a beautiful goal by Tim Crowley, who had a very strong game all night. With his back to the net in the slot, he deflected a shot by McNab that completely fooled Relkoff.
“It’s nice that we were able to put it together in the last eight minutes or so,” Dickinson said.
Put it together they did, not needing overtime to finish off Morrisville. With 1:12 to go, Craig Carlyle finished off the Mustangs. It was another long shot, this time from the left point that found it’s way through a crowd.
“We were trying to get more traffic in front,” Dickinson said. “We were working on that this week.”
Morrisville called timeout and pulled their goalie the rest of the way, but it was to no avail.
“With a three-goal lead with eight minutes to go, we kind of stopped our skating in the defensive zone and gave them a little bit more space than they had in the first 40 minutes of the game and they took advantage,” Morrisville coach Brian Grady said. “I give them credit, they didn’t give up. They got two deflections. They got it to the net. They kept it simple. We played tentative in the last few minutes.”
It was Brockport that was tentative in the beginning of the game, despite coming out in the first ten minutes completely controlling play. Morrisville didn’t get their first shot till midway through the opening period. However, the Golden Eagles were not able to take advantage.
“I thought we had the territorial edge most of the night, but we didn’t work as hard as we’re capable of playing,” Dickinson said. “The kid made some great saves. We hit a couple of pipes. We started getting frustrated.”
“I give all the credit to our goaltender,” Grady said. “We came out flat in the first ten minutes and we took a penalty. He made some big saves. He made a couple of Grade A saves. When he’s on, he’s as good as anyone. He’s a freshman. The sky’s the limit. We rode him pretty good for the first ten minutes and weathered the storm. We found our chance on the PP and a great individual effort on the shorthanded goal, and we rolled from there. We were opportunistic.”
The power-play goal came at 11:06 to give Morrisville the initial lead thanks to a defensive breakdown by Brockport. Todd Sheridan was caught way out of his net, so Matt Damskov from the right side passed it to the middle to a wide open Joe Herman. Herman easily pushed the puck into the open net.
Seconds later, Brockport ricocheted a shot off the inside of the post. When Brockport went on a power play three minutes later, it resulted in a shorthanded goal 13 seconds afterwards, again due to a defensive breakdown. Rob Sgarbassa was allowed to skate unimpeded into the Golden Knights’ zone, and he simply skated past the defenders and went in alone on Sheridan. Sheridan reacted first, going down, so Sgarbassa slipped it though the five hole under the body.
The second period went by without much action and without much scoring opportunities. Early in the third Morrisville made it 3-0 when Bobby Case had no one to pass to in front of the net. Unchallenged, he fired a wrist shot over the shoulder of Sheridan through a screen.
At that point, it appeared Morrisville was on their way to their first SUNYAC points in team history. However, someone forgot to tell Brockport the game was seemingly over.
The two teams play again Saturday night in Brockport.
“It will be pretty similar,” Dickinson said. “I would expect Brian’s team to be extra motivated. To lose a game like that is a tough thing to do, but they will be itching to get right back after it. We want to carry the momentum of the last eight minutes into tomorrow’s start. If we can get off to a good start and get the lead and play with the lead, it will be more comfortable, but we expect it to be a full 60-minute game that will come down to the buzzer.”
“You have to get them up,” Grady said. “Obviously, tomorrow is another day. You have to look at the positives. We got a power-play goal, a shorthanded goal. Those are huge positives, and obviously the goaltending that we had for the majority of the game was spectacular. Still looking for those first two points in SUNY. We’ve played close with everybody. We just don’t have that knockout punch. We have to find it.”