MORRISVILLE, N.Y. — After trading scores in the first period, Potsdam exploded for three goals in the second period to turn a tight game into an easy 7-2 victory over Morrisville. Potsdam’s speed and puck handling overwhelmed Morrisville, allowing the Bears to constantly get behind the Mustangs’ defense.
“We got rid of the bus legs in the first,” Potsdam coach Aaron Saul said of the second period turnaround. “In the second period, we really started to move our feet and generate some offense down low and working the puck down low. I think that was the biggest difference, just moving our feet.”
“Credit them,” Morrisville coach Brian Grady said. “They have skilled forwards. They have team speed. They came in waves. They were relentless five on five, five on four.”
The onslaught began with two goals in a 1:35 span of the middle stanza. First it was Anthony Proteau at 7:14 who blasted a shot from the left face off circle over Caylin Relkoff’s blocker.
Then, Treacy intercepted a horrible clearing pass at the blueline, allowing him to enter the zone alone. He ripped a shot from the right face off circle that went through the goalie’s five-hole for his second of the night.
The third goal was a perfect example of Potsdam’s achievement in the period. After swarming the net, Jeff Zatorski put it in while in front of the net at 12:18.
Morrisville called a timeout, but Grady decided not to change goaltenders.
“He’s our guy,” Grady said. “I think a confidence thing for him to say coach has my back, coach is behind me. There were a few I know he would want back, but he’s our guy.”
The Bears officially put the game away with a quick goal in the third at 1:49. Fraser Smith deked with his forehand and went to his backhand to beat Relkoff.
Potsdam had numerous power play opportunities, thanks mainly to Evan Kernohan taking a five-minute major and game misconduct for hitting from behind. Yet, despite having some of that time as a two man advantage and controlling the puck, the Bears were unable to convert.
“We did have a ton of chances,” Saul said. “The guys were moving the puck well. Sometimes you like to see more power play goals come your way, but we were getting good chances. We just have to work on capitalizing on the chances.”
The Bears wound up scoring their final goal after all the power play time was up when Sy Nutkevitch notched his first collegiate tally on a quick rush at 16:52.
The game started out as a tit-for-tat contest.
Morrisville’s first goal came when Dana Calderone raced down the right side and fired from the face off circle. The perfectly placed shot went up and over the far shoulder of Rick Miller into the upper corner at 5:52.
Potsdam came back to tie it almost five minutes later at 10:34. Their top line used their speed to get behind the Morrisville defense. Smith passed it from left to right across the slot to Connor Treacy. Relkoff slid across the crease, allowing Treacy to easily shoot it over the sprawling goaltender.
Geoff Matzel didn’t allow Morrisville much time to worry as he gave his Mustangs the lead back at 14:44. Matzel’s shot went under the leg of Miller who wishes he had that one back.
However, the Bears once again tied the game on their second power play opportunity. Luke Beck, at the doorstep, easily tipped it in after receiving a pass from behind the net from Colin MacLennan.
Potsdam out shot Morrisville, 49-31. Miller (2-0-1) made 29 saves for the win.
It gets even tougher for Morrisville (0-3, 0-5) who hosts Plattsburgh tomorrow.
“I think the problem right now is us,” Grady said. “We have to worry about us. The things that we can do; the things that we can control. Right now we have to play hockey and not let emotions get the best of us. We’re going to keep to our game play, not take the easy way out.”
Potsdam (2-1, 2-2-1) is done for the weekend. They prepare for next week’s road trip at Geneseo and Brockport.