BROCKPORT, N.Y. — It was deuces wild at the Tuttle North Ice Arena; near the end of overtime between Potsdam and Brockport, the clock stopped with 22.2 seconds left with the score tied, 2-2.
Both teams throughout the game missed golden opportunities to score, as both goaltenders played very strong games, so perhaps it was appropriate that the game ended in a tie.
“You can look at it from both sides,” Potsdam coach Aaron Saul said. “Opportunities that they had could have won the game. Opportunities that we had could have won the game.”
“You can look at it both ways,” Brockport coach Brian Dickinson agreed. “We’re happy in the fact giving up the late goal we were able to bounce back and score one ourselves and salvage a tie. But at the same time, we had some really good looks early in the game when they were flat. From that point of view, perhaps we were pretty fortunate to get a point. Obviously, we didn’t want to lose ground to them being in a tie situation in points, but as a coach you want both points, especially in your own rink.”
After a scoreless and somewhat sluggish first period, the pace picked up in the second and carried through the rest of the game, providing excellent entertainment for the crowd.
Potsdam finally struck first at 12:04 of the middle stanza. Luke Beck won the face off to the right of Todd Sheridan. Connor Treacy picked up the puck still in the circle, turned, and wristed a shot high into the opposite corner, catching Sheridan off guard.
“They’ve been playing great,” Saul said of his first line of Beck, Treacy, and Fraser Smith. “We put them together about halfway through last year, so they’ve been together for almost a year now. They have good chemistry. They have good speed with Fraser, and Connor and Luke obviously are very offensive. They did create a lot of chances, and that’s what we expect of them.”
Shortly afterwards, Brockport’s Adam Shoff had an open net to shoot at, but put it over the crossbar.
Late in the period, with Brockport on the power play, the Bears nearly scored short-handed. Spencer Noyes was stopped on a breakaway, and the trailer missed hitting the open net. Seconds later, Potsdam once again missed an open net on a two-on-one.
Brockport tied it at 3:32 of the third period seconds after a power play ended. Trevor O’Neill had his goalie stick knocked out of his hand after a tremendous save. He yelled at his defense to give him their stick, but no one complied.
Brockport controlled the puck for about 10 seconds, and finally got a shot off at the stickless O’Neill. Jason Gorrie let one fly from the point that went over the stickside shoulder. However, even with a stick, O’Neill would have been hard pressed to stop it.
The third period was the most penalty-filled period, as the teams had chances while up a man and down a man, and each team had their share of missing open nets.
Potsdam finally converted on a power play with just under five minutes left in regulation. Anthony Proteau, skating down the middle, was fed by Peter Vaisanen. Proteau’s motion gave his scoop shot plenty of momentum to beat Sheridan.
The Golden Eagles wouldn’t give up. They continued to press, and it paid off with 2:01 left in the third. Ray Tremblay won a face off to Justin Noble who beat O’Neill, but the puck smacked the post. However, the rebound came right out to James Cody who easily put it into the open side of the net.
“That line was our best line,” Dickinson said. “They came through. They were definitely the key to the game tonight.”
Brockport was called for interference with 46 seconds left in regulation, which of course carried over to the extra period. The Bears applied plenty of pressure, but Sheridan and his defense were equal to the task.
“He was solid,” Dickinson said of his netminder. “I knew he would bounce back. Talking to him before the game, I just knew he was going to have a good, solid game. He’s steady as a rock back there, and our guys appreciate having him back there. It gives them some chances to go on the offense.”
Saul was equally happy with his goaltender. “Great game for him. It was really good to see. We knew he was a good goaltender, and we knew he had it in him, and he played fantastic tonight. As did Todd. Both goalies stole the show.”
When all was said and done, perhaps it was also appropriate that each team still has two conference wins.
Brockport (3-2-1, 2-1-1) takes their first conference two-game road trip of the year, traveling to Oswego and Cortland next weekend.
Potsdam (2-3-2, 2-2-1) returns home for a game against their travel partner, Plattsburgh, on Saturday.