BROCKPORT, N.Y. — Morrisville gained their first conference points in SUNYAC in team history with a 3-1 victory over Brockport.
“It’s great,” Morrisville coach Brian Grady said. “I’m thrilled for the guys. They’ve been working hard all year and we’ve been close, coming up on the short end. It’s good to finally get over the hump.”
The game had similar structure to Friday’s game between the clubs; Brockport came out strong but could not score, Morrisville took the initial lead, and the Golden Eagles attempted another third period comeback. However, despite intense pressure around the Mustangs’ net, this time Brockport couldn’t get it done.
“You go to the well once too often and sometimes the well comes up dry,” Brockport coach Brian Dickinson said. “We’ve got to find a way to start putting teams away earlier in the game so that we are not in the situation where we have to come back in the third period.
“We talked about it before the game that we wanted to come out and control the play. We had a great first five minutes, but because the game was 0-0, we started to do more individualistic things out there and guys started taking things into their own hands. You can’t do that against anybody. You just got to keep to your game plan and sooner or later shots are going to go in.”
Morrisville took the initial lead at 10:31 of the opening period on a backhander by Rob Sgarbassa. He initially received the pass from Brent Quinn on his forehand, but switched it to his backhand for the successful shot.
The Mustangs nearly took a two goal lead with approximately 13 seconds left in the period when Kyle Roberts clearly beat Todd Sheridan, but the puck smacked the post.
This time, Brockport didn’t wait till the third period to get their first goal; they scored quickly in the second at 3:54. Tim Crowley got to a loose puck in the slot, wound up and fired a hard slapper past Caylin Relkoff.
“He’s definitely been our hottest player,” said Dickinson of Crowley, who now has nine goals, most of them since being moved to the second line.
This time, instead of folding, Morrisville fought back and retook the lead at 10:57 of the second period just nine seconds after their first power play started. Keith Williams from behind the net fed Andrew Alarie in front, who one-timed for the goal.
“Their powerplay goal, it’s classic,” Dickinson said. “Guys without the puck moving. So when the guy got it with the puck, he just moved it to the next space, and we kind of lost the guy behind the net and then lost the guy coming out of the corner.”
“That unit that was out there worked the rotation, moved it behind the goal, got it in front of the net, and got a lucky bounce,” Grady said.
Then came the third, and once again Brockport began to outskate and outhustle Morrisville. This time, the Mustangs were not to be denied.
“We tried to really be tight between the dots,” Grady said. “We tried to pick up some of those sticks in front [to prevent] some of the tip-in goals they had last night. We kind of hit the panic button a little bit, starting to run around saying, ‘oh, oh, here we go again.’ We just weathered the storm.”
Early in the final period, Brockport had a two-man advantage power play, and in the final few minutes, they had another power play. However, the Golden Eagles failed every time, and they now have scored just one goal in their last 35 powerplay attempts.
“That’s definitely a sore spot in our program,” Dickinson said. “We’ve got to be better at it.”
Brockport pulled their goalie in a last ditch attempt, but Quinn intercepted a pass in his own zone and shot it down the ice, barely making it to the empty net for the clincher, leaving a very jubilant Morrisville team to celebrate.
“We had some great looks. Their goaltender played extremely well again tonight,” Dickinson said. “We couldn’t get a break there at the end. It was one of those efforts where we just came up short.”
“All the credit to our goaltender again,” Grady said. “He made some great saves when he had to. He made some even bigger saves when he shouldn’t have to.”
Morrisville (1-15, 5-19) has just one game left in their season, a non-conference contest at Oswego Tuesday night. Brockport (3-5-1, 6-10-2) hits the road for five of their final seven games starting out with Fredonia Friday night.